nl en

Physics of Elementary Particles


Admission Requirements

Speciale Relativiteitstheorie, Klassieke Mechanica a, Classical Electrodynamics and Quantum Mechanics 2


This course introduces the current understanding of elementary particles and their interactions.

It starts with atoms, nuclei, nucleons and builds up towards a description of the Standard Model of Particle Physics. It introduces the known fundamental particles and provides a basic overview of the strong, electromagnetic and weak interactions as well as the conservation laws and symmetries in particle interactions. The course will also introduce the relevant tools and methods to experimentally investigate on the particles and their interactions.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Fundamental particles and interactions

  • Symmetries and conservation laws

  • Accelerators and Detectors

  • Particle interactions with matter

  • Scattering and decay processes and kinematics

  • Nuclear decays and kinematics

  • Form factors/Deep inelastic Scattering/Structure functions

  • Quark model of hadrons/strong interaction

  • Feynman diagrams

  • Weak interaction

  • Neutrino oscillations

Course objectives

After successfully completing this course you will be able to explain the topics listed above and can apply the concepts that are involved.
In particular you will be able to

  • explain different nuclear models and calculate energy balances in nuclear decays

  • calculate the kinematics in particle decays and scattering

  • describe all known fundamental particles with their characteristics

  • describe the quark model and mixing

  • describe the characteristics of particle interactions (electromagnetic, weak, strong)

  • sketch Feynman diagrams of basic particle interactions

  • identify the associated interaction in a scattering or decay

  • explain the notion of Parity and Charge Conjugation and impact in particle interactions

  • explain the concept of helicity and chirality and impact in particle interactions

  • explain different detection methods used for particle physics experiments and judge in which cases those are appropriate

  • associate signals in a detector with distinct particle interactions



Mode of instruction

Exercise sessions
Excursion to Nikhef – National institute for Subatomic Physics (voluntary)

Assessment method

Written exam with short questions and calculations.


Lectures and exercises will be available on blackboard
To have access to Blackboard you need a ULCN-account.Blackboard UL

Reading list

Mandatory books:
1.Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics, David Griffith
2.Particles and Nuclei – An introduction to the Physical Concepts, Bogdan Povh, Klaus Rith, Christoph Scholz, Frank Zetsche, 7th edition, 2015


Contact details lecturer: Dr. D.F.E. Samtleben (Dorothea)