Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Recitations: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour/session


There are no prerequisites, but 8.321 Quantum Theory I is a corequisite (must be taken at the same time).

Course Description

This is an introductory graduate-level course on the phenomenology and experimental foundations of nuclear and particle physics, including the fundamental forces and particles, as well as composites. Emphasis is on the experimental establishment of the leading models, and the theoretical tools and experimental apparatus used to establish them.

The course follows the textbook Introduction to Elementary Particles by David Griffiths to week 8, continues with 2 weeks of basics in nuclear physics and 2 weeks of experimental methods, and ends with a look beyond the Standard Model and the connection to cosmology.


This course is taught remotely, using the flipped classroom format. Students watch videos and read the textbook at home. They also look at problems at home to check their understanding. They bring their questions to the online class sessions and attempt problems together in the group meeting.

Lectures are organized in short videos discussing specific concepts or methods. Each video is supplemented with slides, text, and a few short questions for your own evaluation. Recitations sessions are for to discussing (Q&A) the content of the lectures, showing examples, and discussing homework.

Recommended Textbooks

Perkins, Donald H. Introduction to High Energy Physics. Cambridge University Press, 2014. ISBN: 9780521621960

Wong, Samuel S. M. Introductory Nuclear Physics. Prentice-Hall, 1990. ISBN: 9780134715667

Griffiths, David J. Introduction to Elementary Particles. Wiley-VCH, 2017. ISBN: 9783527406012

Alternative Books and Reading

Krane, Kenneth. Introductory Nuclear Physics. Wiley, 2008. ISBN: 9788126517855

Donnelly, Thomas W., Joseph A. Formaggio, Barry R. Holstein, Richard Gerard Milner, and Bernd Surrow. Foundations of Nuclear and Particle Physics. The MIT Press, 2017. ISBN: 9780521765114

Leo, William R. Techniques for Nuclear and Particle Physics Experiments. Springer, 1994. ISBN: 9783540572800

Thomson, Mark. Modern Particle Physics. Cambridge University Press, 2013. ISBN: 9781107034266

Particle Data Group Reviews


Homework (50 points) includes reading assignments and problem solving. Feel free to work in groups. Identify all contributors and submit your own work, i.e. not copies. One of 6 problem sets will be forgiven (5 count 10 points each).

The paper presentation (20 points) requires that you make a 20-minute presentation of a paper of your choice (with instructor approval), plus allow for 10 minutes of Q&A (in groups of two).

There are two oral exams (30 points total), each of which will be a 20-minute Q&A with the teaching staff.


This course is organized around the following content chapters.

Chapter 0. Introduction  
Chapter 1. Fermions, Bosons, and Fields Problem set 1 posted
Chapter 2. Symmetries  
Chapter 3. Feynman Calculus Problem set 2 posted
Problem set 1 due
Chapter 4. QED  
Chapter 5. QCD Problem set 3 posted
Problem set 2 due
Chapter 6. Weak Interactions Problem set 4 posted
Problem set 3 due
  Oral exam 1
Chapter 7. Higgs Physics  
Chapter 8. Neutrino Physics Problem set 5 posted
Problem set 4 due
Chapter 9. Nuclear Physics Problem set 6 posted
Problem set 5 due
Chapter 10. Instrumentation Problem set 6 due
  Oral exam 2