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PX445 - Advanced Particle Physics

  • Module code: PX445
  • Module name: Advanced Particle Physics
  • Department: Physics
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

To present the theoretical framework that underpins the Standard Model of particle physics, and to use it to make calculations of basic fundamental particle interactions

Principal learning outcomes

Students should: Understand how the quarks and leptons, and the bosons that mediate their interactions, can be described by local gauge theories be able to calculate some lowest order processes in Quantum Electrodynamics; Know how the Feynman Rules need to be extended in order to successfully account for the 
characteristics of the Strong and Weak interactions; Appreciate how the Electroweak formalism successfully describes the results of experiments at high energies and how the concept of spontaneous symmetry breaking (and the Higgs Mechanism) can account for massive gauge fields; Know the limitations and inadequacies of the Standard Model and where progress is thought likely to come.

Timetabled teaching activities

30 Lectures

Departmental link

Other essential notes

The Standard Model (SM) is the basis of our understanding of particle physics. In this module we will look at its successes and at electroweak unification in some detail. We will also discuss some of the unresolved issues with the SM and whether it can be extended to unify all the forces. To date, the SM has been tested over a large range of energies and to considerable precision; for example, the mass of the Z is determined more precisly than G, the gravitational constant. The Standard Model cannot be the final theory since it predicts neither the particle masses nor the strengths of their interactions. Nevertheless, if these parameters are fed in by hand, the SM accounts for all experimental results most impressively. We are in the tantalising situation of having a Model which works surprisingly well but which requires other unknown ingredients in order to turn the Model into a consistent theory.

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: PX445-15)
B (Examination only) 2 hour examination (Summer) 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc MPhys) (F304) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (BSc MMathPhys) (FG33) - Year 4