Physics 694: Special topics in experimental particles physics


Instructor: Prof. John Paul Chou
Office: Serin 314
Time: Mondays from 1:30-4:30pm
Location: SEC 206

General Information

This is a special topics seminar aimed at 1st and 2nd year graduate students who intend to pursue a Ph.D. in experimental particle physics.  The course is intended to bridge the gap in knowledge between formal theoretical physics (i.e. QFT) and experimental practice.  Particle interactions in matter and detector techniques will be emphasized in relation to the historic development of our understanding of fundamental physics.  Students will be expected to do the reading and associated problems prior to class, where the readings will be discussed in a seminar-style format.


We will use a variety of sources throughout the semester.  The primary textbook will be Cahn and Goldhaber: The Experimental Foundations of Particle Physics, with supplements from published papers and the PDG.  Halzen and Martin's Quarks and Leptons as well as David Griffiths' Introduction to Elementary Particles will also be referenced.


The grades for this class will be determined based on a final project, a one hour long, seminar presentation of an important discovery or measurement in particle physics.


Date Reading List Problems
Jan 22
  • C&G chapter 1
  • PDG Sections 34.1-34.2
C&G: 1.1, 1.2
Jan 29 C&G: 2.3, 2.5, 2.6
Feb 5 C&G: 3.1, 3.2, 3.5
Feb 12
C&G: 4.1
Feb 19
C&G: 5.4, 5.5
Feb 26
C&G: 6.3, 6.4
Mar 5
Mar 12 Spring Break
Mar 19 C&G: 9.1, 9.2
Mar 26 No Class
Apr 2
Apr 16
Apr 23
  • C&G chapter 12
  • Brandon on Higgs discovery
  • Abhijith on W/Z discovery

Apr 30
  • C&G chapter 14
  • Steffie on top discovery