Prof. Edward Kearns

This is a first course in particle physics, intended for advanced undergraduates and first year graduate students. The goal is to survey, both historically and topically, the experimental foundations of the Standard Model


WWW: This course outline is maintained at hep.bu.edu/~kearns/py551.

Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30PM to 2:00 PM, SCI-B58.

Discussion: Scheduled for Wednesday, 11 AM to 12 PM, PRB-261. Full discussion sections will be held often but sometimes irregularly and announced in class.

click here for the general syllabus... updated as the course progresses.

Reading: Here is a detailed list of reading assignments following the lecture schedule, also updated regularly.

The official text for this course is Introduction to Elementary Particles by D. Griffiths. This is a very readable treatment, which should be valuable to all students who anticipate continuing in the field. You may be able to borrow or purchase used copies from previous students of PY551. The latest printing has a new cover but is identical to the previous edition. However, it does not perfectly match the content of the course, as later chapters focus on calculating processes, but do not have sufficient description of the experimental measurements. Also, it lacks entire sections of material that we will cover, such as the interaction of radiation with matter and shower processes. Therefore, there will also be considerable supplementary reading, handed out in class. Treat this reading as seriously as you would assignments in the textbook.

Particle Physics Booklet by the Particle Data Group. Please order your own copy from pdg.lbl.gov (see ordering information- it's free!). Exams will be "open PDG booklet". Serious students may also want to have a copy of the full 900 page Review of Particle Physics for their desk (also free). At this time the PDG seems to be out of the booklet! For now, use the online pages, we will decide how to handle this over the next few weeks.

General references (on reserve):

  • Particle Physics by Martin & Shaw (1997).
    More elementary than Griffiths. Good for comparison and it is relatively up-to-date.
  • Introduction to High Energy Physics by D. Perkins (4th Edition (c) 2000).
    This was the classic textbook for many years, and has been updated regularly.
  • The Experimental Foundations of Particle Physics by Cahn & Goldhaber (1989)
    A terrific reference, mixing exposition with classic papers. Unfortunately, it is out-of-print, otherwise this would have been a likely text for this course. Grab a copy if you see it at a used book store.
  • Quarks and Leptons by Halzen & Martin
    More advanced treatment of Feynman calculus than Griffiths, but still accessible. A good reference for PY751/752. Recommended.

Experimental methods references (on reserve):

These books provide reference material, much more detailed than in standard particle physics textbooks, on the technical details of detectors and particle experimentation. They should be helpful for the assignments on detectors, and serious experimental students may want to own their own copy of one or two of these.

  • Techniques for Nuclear and Particle Physics Experiments : A How-to Approach by Leo
  • Experimental Techniques in High Energy Physics by Ferbel
  • Detectors for Particle Radiation by Kleinknecht
  • Introduction to Experimental Particle Physics by Fernow
  • The Physics of Particle Detectors by Green

Important WWW resources:
Particle Data Group - all tables and writeups in full version are available online
  SPIRES - includes database of high energy physics publications
  Boston University HEP home page - links to our research groups
  BU/HEP Particle Physics Links - our list of links to labs, journals, and other useful pages

Exams: to be announced.

Homework: Due in class on the date assigned on the handout (typically one week). Late assignments will not be graded.

Presentations: Part of your course work will include a research project that will culminate in a brief presentation in front of the class. Details to be announced.

Grades: 25% Exam 1, 25% Exam 2, 25% Presentation, 25% Homework

Office hours: To be announced.

Pre-requisites: Quantum mechanics with time dependent perturbation theory. Please see the instructor if their is any doubt.

Other guidelines: Collaboration on homework is acceptable. The final written homework should be your own attempt and not a copy of another students work. In some instances, extensions will be allowed given good cause (sickness, unavoidable travel, or serious conflicts with deadlines in another class). Extensions must be granted in advance. For presentations, papers, or projects, it is essential that you properly cite any external sources such as web pages, talks found online, papers, preprints and so on. It is not acceptable to complete a talk or paper simply by concatenating text and graphics from other sources. This class is governed by the CAS Academic Conduct Code. Please see the instructor if there is anything you need clarified regarding these guidelines.