PHYSICS 557-8: Particle Physics

Autumn 2012, Winter 2013


Instructor: Prof. Stephen D. Ellis

Office: B401 (PAB)

Telephone: 5-2396












The latest Higgs results from CERN can be found at



Here is an animated GIF file from ATLAS showing the Higgs bump appear in the data.



Recent Higgs related articles in the New York Times:


Chasing the Higgs (3/5/13)

All Signs Point to Higgs Boson (3/5/13)

Talk on scale choices by S.D. Ellis at the UW Terascale Higgs Workshop 1/23/13


The latest results from the LHC can be found here


A video of the UW HEP Groupís presentations at the Higgs Night Out held at T.S. McHugh's on the evening of 7/3/12 can be found at


NYT 10/7/11 OP-Ed piece on The Universe, Dark Energy and Us


You may find it informative and entertaining to watch the 1964 Messenger Lectures by Richard Feynman now available on the web courtesy of Microsoft (some of the material is relevant to this course)



Physics 557-8


Overview: The first quarter of this sequence is recommended for all Physics Ph.D. candidates. The general topic is particle physics with an emphasis on descriptive phenomenology, symmetries, and the general properties of particle dynamics -- a building block view of the Standard Model. A prior exposure to Feynman graph techniques is not required, but you want to learn to use them quickly. The bulk of the contents on this page is currently from previous years (but I will be updated it). I encourage you to read the past lectures, especially the historical parts. Given the events of July, 2012, i.e., the confirmation of a Higgs-like particle at the LHC (see the link above), we will move quickly to a discussion of the Standard Model and the role of the Higgs field and the Higgs boson. It is intended that the content will be relevant to the majority of Physics Ph.D. candidates. The (tentative) syllabus for this course is here.


The course is not intended to be a heavy burden for students already investing considerable time in starting up their research. The grade will be based entirely on the homework assignments to be made each week. You are encouraged to discuss the problems with your classmates but each student must turn in individual papers. Turn in the HW in class on the due date or place it in my mail box before the end of class on the due date. (Since I try to keep track of the HW, do not turn in the HW directly to the TA.) You can also use email to address questions to me. Work turned in during the week following the due date will be accepted but discounted by 50%. No HW will be accepted after the last class of the quarter. Assignments and solutions will be posted on the web.


I have found no ideal textbook for this course (see comments in the following textbook list) and will attempt to account for this issue by providing written lecture notes, available both in class and on the web. I will also attempt, as noted above/below, to provide pointers to relevant resources on the web.


Textbook list 


Physics 557 Lectures Autumn 2012


Lecture 1 (9/24/12, 9/26/12) Introduction

Lecture 2 (9/26/12, 9/28/12) Units, Sizes and Vocabulary

Lecture 3 (10/1/12, 10/3/12) Introduction to Cosmology

Lecture 4 (10/5/12, 10/8/12) Relativistic Notation, Kinematics and Symmetries

Lecture 5 (10/8/12, 10/10/12) Introduction to Group Theory

Lecture 5 Appendix (10/10/12) Antisymmetric Structure Constants

Lecture 6 (10/12/10, 10/15/12, 10/17/12) Collisions, Scattering and more Kinematics

Lecture 7 (10/17/12) Accelerators, Detectors and Experiments, read outside class

Lecture 8 (10/19/12, 10/22/12, 10/24/12) Quantum Numbers of the Standard Model

Lecture 8 Appendix (10/19/12) Young diagrams, Clebsch-Gordan coeff.

Lecture 9 (10/26/12, 10/29/12, 10/31/12) Intro to the Particles: Leptons, Nucleons and Pions

Lecture 9 Appendix (10/29/12) Spin, helicity, handedness, etc.

Lecture 10 (10/31/12, 11/2/12) Strangeness, Resonances and Flavor SU(3) (cover quickly)

Lecture 10 Appendix (11/2/12) Hadron Masses

Lecture 11 (11/5/12) Excitations and Regge Behavior

Lecture 12 (11/7/12) Even Heavier Quarks (SU(4) Appendix)
Lecture 13 (11/9/12, 11/14/12) Local Gauge Invariance and Gauge Bosons I - Classical QED

Lecture 14 (11/14/12, 11/16/12) Local Gauge Invariance and Gauge Bosons II - QED, SU(2) and QCD

Lecture 15 (11/16/12, 11/19/12) Local Gauge Invariance and Gauge Bosons III - More Group Theory

Lecture 16 (11/19/12, 11/21/12) The effective theory of the weak interactions

Lecture 17 (11/21/12, 11/26/12, 11/28/12) (Re)Introduction to Symmetry Breaking

Lecture 18 (11/30/12, 12/3/12) Standard Model of Electroweak Interactions (Weinberg-Salam)

Lecture 19 (12/5/12, 12/7/12) Feynman rules for Electroweak Interactions

Lecture 20 (12/7/12) Calculating Electroweak Interactions



Physics 558 Lectures Winter 2013


Lecture 20 (1/7/13) Calculating Electroweak Interactions

Lecture 21 (1/7/13, 1/9/13) More Comments on the SM of Electroweak Interactions

Lecture 22 (1/11/13, 1/14/13) QED, Feynman rules and cross sections

Lecture 23 (1/16/13, 11/18/13) More on Scattering in E&M

Lecture 24 (1/25/13, 1/28/13, 1/30/13) Introduction to SuperSymmetry
(see the PDG summary at

Lecture 24 Appendix (2/1/13) Brief Introduction to SUSY and Fields: The Wess-Zumino Model

Lecture 25 (2/1/13, 2/4/13) Neutrino masses, mixing and oscillations

Lecture 26 (2/6/13, 2/8/13) The Neutral Kaon System: An Introduction

Lecture 27 (2/8/13, 2/11/13) The Neutral Kaon System: Technical Details

Lecture 27 Appendix (2/11/13, 2/13/13) The Box Diagram

Lecture 28 (2/13/13, 2/15/13) The Neutral Kaon System: Technical Details II (Decays and CP violation)

Lecture 29 (2/20/13) The Neutral B System

Lecture 30 (2/22/13) (Re) Introduction to QCD, Feynman rules and renormalized couplings

Lecture 30 Appendix A (2/22/13) Comments on propagators

Lecture 30 Appendix B (2/22/13) Dimensional Regularization

Lecture 31 (2/25/13, 2/27/13) The Strong Interactions I: The Quark/Parton Model

Lecture 32 (2/27/13, 3/1/13) The Strong Interactions II: The QCD Improved Parton Model

Lecture 33 (3/1/13, 3/4/13) The Strong Interactions III: More on the QCD Improved Parton Model and Perturbative QCD

Lecture 34 (3/6/13, 3/8/13) The Strong Interactions IV: Even More on the QCD Improved Parton Model and Perturbative QCD
Lecture 35 (3/11/13, 3/13/13) The Strong Interactions V: Final Discussion of the QCD Improved Parton Model and Perturbative QCD
Lecture 36 (3/13/13, 3/15/13) Some Final Comments on QCD: Nonperturbative Structure and the Vacuum


Useful results for units (natural particle physics units) and sizes


Various matrices and structure constants for the useful group SU(3) 


Notes on Young Diagrams and Representations of SU(N)


Other Web based resources:


The Particle Data Group, of particular interest is the quick overview of particle physics, the Particle Adventure, offered by the PDG


Homepage for Fermilab, Fermilab also offers a quick introduction to particle physics


Homepage for CERN


Homepage for DESY


Homepage for SLAC


LANL e-Print arXive