Physics 613 - Spring 2022

Overview of the Course

Course Outline

This course will cover the Standard Model of particle physics and the present state of experimental particle physics. We will describe the Standard Model as a quantum field theory and we will calculate processes (cross sections and decays) within the framework of field theory using Feynman diagram formalism. The use quantum field theory, while serious, will be somewhat heuristic with emphasis on a basic understanding rather than mathematical rigor. For a more complete coverage of quantum field theory, you should take the two-semester course sequence 616 and 619 on quantum fields. Our purpose is to describe the Standard Model at the level at which is should be understood by all physicists and to enable experimental particle physicists to develop insights into what are the currently important questions in particle physics.

The list of topics we will cover in the course includes

  1. Dirac Equation
  2. Quantum Field Theory
  3. Gauge Symmetry
  4. Perturbation Theory, Feynman Diagrams
  5. Calculations of Cross Sections and Decays
  6. Renormalization
  7. Quantum Electrodynamics
  8. QCD
  9. Asymptotic Freedom, Confinement, Parton Model, Collider Physics
  10. Electroweak and Higgs Theory
  11. Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking
  12. Flavor Physics, Neutrinos and CP Violation


Students will be expected to have a firm basis in Quantum Mechanics as presented in the Fall course 501. First year students confident in their ability should feel to take this course concurrently with 502. We will begin the course with the development of the Dirac Theory of Relativistic Quantum Mechanics. This will assume no prior knowledge of the subject although we will proceed rapidly, so, prior exposure could be helpful.


Lectures will be on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:20 am to 11:40 am. Following University guidelines, lectures during the month of January will be conducted virtually; a Zoom link will be emailed to all the students registered for the class.

I encourage you very much to ask questions and initiate discussions during the lectures. That is the best way to make the lectures effective. I will post lecture notes and recordings after each lecture.

Office Hours

I will not be having regular office hours but I am very happy to discuss any aspect of the course with you. If you would like to meet with me, please stop by my office (Serin E370) or send me an email.


The text book is Gauge Theories in Particle Physics by Aitchison and Hey. This is an excellent book and matches well the intended content and level of the course. There are four editions of the book. By far the best is the second edition. It is out of print but you can buy a used one. Please contact me if you need a copy. The next best edition is the third. It is available used from Amazon. The most recent fourth edition is not recommended.

Some additional textbooks that you might find useful are:


There will be approximately ten homework assignments during the semester. These will in general consist of a range of problems from straight forward to challenging. Making an attempt at the homework problems is very important in order to fully learn the material.


The course grade will be based on attendance, class participation and homework. There will not be any exams.

This page is maintained by Prof. David Shih.