Contemporary particle physics

This course is part of the programme
Doctoral study programme Physics

Objectives and competences

The goal of the course is getting to know the basic principles needed to build and treat the standard model of elemetary particles. They will attain the knowledge of theoretical methods and tools, need to understand processes at colliders, in rare decays and certain cosmological settings. With the acquired competences they will be able to use the current literature and improve their research capabilities.




We will get to learn the basics of Lorentz and gauge symmetrues: representations, transformations, chirality and conservation laws, conserved charges (electromagnetic, lepton and baryon number). We will derive and employ Feynman rules from the basics of quantization of quantum fields for scalars, fermions and gauge vector bosons. We will determine the propagators and construct amplitudes from diagrams at tree level. We will derive the basic formulae for decays, scatterings and annihilations in quantum electrodynamics. We will consider non-Abelian gauge groups SU(2) and SU(3) and demostrate the use of group theory methods on the standard model of electroweak interactions and quantum chromodynamics. We will review the spontaneous breaking of symmetries and the Higgs mechanism and study the basic electroweak processes. This includes the production of W and Z gauge bosons, their decays and consequences for understanding the physics of flavor (mixing, CKM) and neutrinos (number of generations, PMNS and oscillations). We will present the basics of collider physics, including the kinematics, distibutions and parton distribution functions for calculating the processes on hadronic colliders using the modern tools, such as MadGraph and Pythia. We will show how the matrix elements can be used in cosmological calculations, such as the annihliation of electrons and freeze-out of neutrinos and dark matter.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
• ?Learning the basics of theory of particles and quantum field theory.
• Physical understanding from simple estimates to precision calculations of standard, common processes.
• Understanding physical processes, kinematics, charges and theoretical structures.
• Use of PDG and research literature.
• Connecting the theory with current experiments, understading the relevant energy scales and rates of events, sensitivities.
• Knowledge of types of elementary particles (spin, mass, charge) and force carriers.
• Basics of historical development of the field of elementary particles and cosmology.


• M. Peskin, D. Schroeder: An introduction to quantum field theory, Addison-Wesley publishing company, New York (1995). E-version
• I. Aitchison, A. Hey: Gauge Theories in Particle Physics: A Practical Introduction, Volume 1: From Relativistic Quantum Mechanics to QED, CRC Press. Catalogue E-version
• T.-P. Cheng, L.-F. Li: Gauge Theory of elementary particle physics, Oxford University Press. Catalogue E-version
• M. Srednicki: Quantum Field Theory, Cambridge University Press.
• M. Schwartz: Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model, Cambridge University Press. E-version
• C. Burgess: The Standard Model: A Primer, Cambridge University Press.
• P.A. Zyla et al. (Particle Data Group), Prog. Theor. Exp. Phys. 2020, 083C01 (2020). E-version


Written/take home exam, followed by an oral discussion. (50/50)

Lecturer's references

Assistant professor of Physics at the University of Ljubljana.

  1. FUKS, Benjamin, NEMEVŠEK, Miha, RUIZ, Richard. Doubly charged Higgs boson production at hadron colliders. Physical review. D. 2020, vol. 101, no. 7, str. 075022-1-075022-27. ISSN 2470-0010. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.101.075022. [COBISS.SI-ID 33298727]
  2. GUADA, Victor, MAIEZZA, Alessio, NEMEVŠEK, Miha. Multifield polygonal bounces. Physical review. D. 2019, vol. 99, no. 5, str. 056020-1-056020-17. ISSN 2470-0010. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.99.056020. [COBISS.SI-ID 32246055]
  3. NEMEVŠEK, Miha, NESTI, Fabrizio, POPARA, Goran. Keung-Senjanović process at the LHC : from lepton number violation to displaced vertices to invisible decays. Physical review. D. 2018, vol. 97, no. 11, str. 115018-1-115018-16. ISSN 2470-0010. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.97.115018. [COBISS.SI-ID 31478055]
  4. NEMEVŠEK, Miha, NESTI, Fabrizio, VASQUEZ, Juan. Majorana Higgses at colliders. The journal of high energy physics. 2017, vol. 2017, no. 4, str. 114-1-114-33. ISSN 1029-8479. DOI: 10.1007/JHEP04(2017)114. [COBISS.SI-ID 30464039]
  5. MAIEZZA, Alessio, NEMEVŠEK, Miha, NESTI, Fabrizio. Lepton number violation in Higgs decay at LHC. Physical review letters. [Print ed.]. 2015, vol. 115, no. 8, str. 081802-1-081802-7. ISSN 0031-9007. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.081802. [COBISS.SI-ID 28795175]