Master Degree


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First semester
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

The main objective of the course is the presentation of the Standard Model of the physics of fundamental interactions in its theoretical formulation and its main phenomenological implications.
The students will acquire familiarity with the main characteristics of the electroweak interactions, of quantum chromodynamics and of neutrino physics. They will also learn to discuss the phenomenology of the most common extensions of the Standard model.

Autonomy of judgment: the students will be able to evaluate critically the phenomenological consequences of beyond the Standard Model extensions.
They will know how to evaluate the proper approach to a new problem in the context of the course's theme and concepts.

Communication abilities: the students will have to show how to communicate effectively the consistency features and the phenomenological implications of the Standard Model and of its most common extenstions. In particular, they have to manage to introduce the concepts in a clear and accessible manner, not only to a specialist of the field, but also to a physicist with a different background.

Learning ability: the students will have to show to have learnt the basic concepts of the modern formulation of the theory of fundamental interactions. They will be able to tackle the main problems of the field, even the more specialized ones which will not be discussed during the course.


Quantum relativistic field theory

Course contents summary

The Standard Model for the fundamental interactions is a theory verified in all of its sectors by a large number of experimental data in the last forty years.
In this course we will trace the steps leading to the construction of the theory and we will discuss its main aspects.
We introduce the motivations to look for theories beyond the Standard Model and the possible experiments that can highlight new effects.

Course contents

Electroweak theory SU(2)xU(1)
Quarks and leptons
Weak currents and C, P, and CP violation
Effective Fermi Lagrangian and beta decay
Masses of quarks and leptons and flavour transitions
GIM mechanism
Spontaneous symmetry breaking and Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism
Precision tests of the standard model
Higgs boson and its discovery at the LHC
Quantum chromodynamics
Quark confinement, chiral symmetry breaking and asymptotic freedom
Indications of new physics beyond the standard model
The standard model as an effective theory and the hierarchy problem
Neutrino masses and oscillations
The dark matter problem
The gravitational interaction as a quantum field theory

Recommended readings

R. Barbieri: Lectures on Electroweak Interactions, Edizioni della Normale 2007.

Paul Langacker: The Standard Model and Beyond CRC Press. 2nd ed.

Cheng-Li. “Gauge theory of elementary particle physics”. Oxford Press 1984

Teaching methods

Class lectures and homework assignments

Assessment methods and criteria

Homework assignments during the course and discussion of a problem of choice concerning the theory of fundamental interactions