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