# HIGHLIGHTS IN THORETICAL PHYSICS

## Learning outcomes of the course unit

Getting acquainted with the landscape of modern theoretical physics, at a level appropriate to third year students, grasping fundamental concepts and the various connections between different subjects.

Collecting elements towards a possible choice of going on with studies in Theoretical Physics.

Developing communication skills of scientific subjects, via oral presentation and seminars.

## Prerequisites

Basics in quantum mechanics and special relativity.

## Course contents summary

These lectures provide an overview of results and methods of the physics of fundamental interactions:

- symmetry principles and conservation laws, from classical physics to quantum field theory;

- modern description of fundamental interactions: gauge theories, quantum electrodynamics, basics of the standard Model;

- Cosmology primer: observational foundations, Big Bang, cosmic background radiation, neutrinos, inflation.

## Course contents

Fundamental physical scales, natural units, dimensional analysis.

Elements of classical mechanics: symmetry principles, Noether theorem

Space time symmetries and internal symmetries. The case of electromagnetism. The case of general relativity.

Quantum mechanics and special relativity: problems in unifying them.

Elements of field theory: Klein gordon and Dirac fields. Interactions.

Real and virtual particles.

Weak interactions: Fermi theory, parity violation, V-A theory

Electroweak unification, SU(2) group, neutral currents, Higgs boson.

Strong interactions (hints)

Physics beyond the Standard Model (hints)

Basics in Cosmology: Friedmann-Robertson-Walker model, thermal history of the Universe, dark matter and dark energy, inflation.

## Recommended readings

Detailed lecture notes will be provided, to be integrated with other material suggested by the lecturer.

## Teaching methods

Lectures

## Assessment methods and criteria

oral examination. The student will prepare a short seminar on a subject agreed with the lecturer. This will be the initial part of the examination, which will go on with questions on the rest of the subjects taught during the course.