Graduate School

Astroparticle physics

This course is part of the programme:
Physics (Third Level)

Objectives and competences

Astroparticle physics is a modern field which lies at the interface between particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. The rapid development of this field was sparked by the boom in experiments covering high-energy range, including ground-based observations, satellite missions and particle colliders. Since all probes are often tests of the connected physical phenomena, they are best studied under a unifying framework: that of astroparticle physics.

The goal of this course is to give students an overview of the relevant topics, with a focus on the most relevant, long standing problems in this rapidly evolving field. Complementary to the Modern astrophysics course it will focus on high energy experiments and processes relevant for particle astrophysical messengers. It will also cover selected topics from low redshift cosmology for which astrophysics of the interstellar medium is relevant, complementary to the Cosmology course, which is focused on the early Universe.

Students will also get practical experience running one of the most commonly used numerical codes simulating cosmic-ray propagation and dark matter annihilation in our Galaxy: the GALPROP code. They will contrast their results with data from current observations and learn how to constrain theoretical models.

As a part of the final exam, they will be expected to prepare a short presentation on a pre-selected topic with the aim of developing critical thinking and understanding of the main scientific trends.

Prerequisites

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Content (Syllabus outline)

  • Particle acceleration in astrophysical sources:

    - electrodynamics of compact objects (pulsars)

    - shock acceleration (super nova remnants, pulsar wind nebulae),

    - accretion, acceleration and collimation of relativistic jets (active galactic nuclei, gamma ray bursts)

  • Observations of high-energy messengers: charged cosmic rays, photons, neutrinos, gravitational radiation and emerging picture of the source properties
  • High-energy astrophysics in our Galaxy: the interstellar medium, diffusion, energy losses and secondary emission
  • Extragalactic astrophysics: cosmic neutrinos and cosmological gamma-ray signal
  • The dark matter problem: its distribution and potential astrophysical signals
  • Cosmological aspects of high-energy astrophysics: the intergalactic medium, re-ionization and the Lyman-alpha forest. Implications for future observations (EUCLID, SKA).

Intended learning outcomes

  • Students will acquire basic knowledge in astroparticle physics and be able to clearly identify the main topics which are in the center of contemporary research. They will also gain an insight in the expected improvements due to the data from upcoming telescopes.
  • Students will also acquire hands on experience with the standard numeric tool in high energy astrophysics and the comparison of thus generated models with the current experimental data.
  • At the end of the course students should have acquired enough of experience in the field of astrophysics to be able to independently survey the current research literature and prepare a short seminar on the topic of choice.

Readings

  • Malcolm Longair, High Energy Astrophysics, Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • Berezinskii, Bulanov, Dogiel, Ginzburg and Ptuskin, Astrophysics of Cosmic rays, North Holland, 1990.
  • Alessandro de Angelis and Mario Pimenta, Introduction to particle and astroparticle physics (to be published)

Assessment

Students will be evaluated based on: i) their homework assignments, ii) completion of the practical tutorial based on the GALPROP code and iii) their final 'seminar like’ short presentation on a selected modern research topic. 30/30/40

Lecturer's references

Assistant professor of Physics at the University of Nova Gorica.

Bibliography

University course code: 3FIi28

Year of study: 1

Lecturer:

ECTS: 12

Workload:

  • Lectures: 40 hours
  • Exercises: 20 hours
  • Individual work: 300 hours

Course type: elective

Languages: english/slovene

Learning and teaching methods:
• lectures with several homework assignments; • practical exercises with a state of the art software (galprop) and simple data analysis of current data; • independent reading of the contemporary research literature under supervision of the lecturer and a presentation of results to other students in open discussion; • journal club – discussion of published research articles on the selected high energy astrophysics topics.