Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics

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The Standard Model is the theory of elementary building blocks of matter and of their forces. It is the most comprehensive physical theory ever developed, and has been experimentally tested with high accuracy.

This textbook conveys the basic elements of the Standard Model using elementary concepts, without theoretical rigour. While most texts on this subject emphasise theoretical aspects, this textbook contains examples of basic experiments, before going into the theory. This allows readers to see how measurements and theory interplay in the development of physics. The author examines leptons, hadrons and quarks, before presenting the dynamics and surprising properties of the charges of the different forces. The textbook concludes with a brief discussion on the recent discoveries in physics beyond the Standard Model, and its connections with cosmology.

Quantitative examples are given throughout the book, and the reader is guided through the necessary calculations. Each chapter ends in exercises so readers can test their understanding of the material. Solutions to some problems are included in the book, and complete solutions are available to instructors at This textbook is suitable for advanced undergraduate students and graduate students.

About the Author:
Alessandro Bettini is Professor of Physics at the University of Padua, Italy, former Director of the Gran Sasso National Laboratory, Italy and Director of the Canfranc Underground Laboratory, Spain

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Review of the first edition: 'There are many gems within these pages … The author has managed to bring out the importance of experiment in the field, and to explain both the reasoning and the difficulties behind these experiments, but does not get bogged down in minutiae. We are left with an excellent introduction to the thinking behind modern quantum field theory.' Todd Huffman, University of Oxford

Review of the first edition: 'He has a talent to render complicated things as simple and clear as possible … Bettini provides the reader with a deep insight of the main steps which have brought to the present formulation of the Standard Model, with its essential ingredients, its limits and open questions.' Il Nuovo Saggiatore

Review of the first edition: '… provides (postgraduate and advanced undergraduate) students with an admirably clear account of the Standard Model … The prose is consistently fluent and interesting, the author's knowledge up to date and detailed and the explanations admirably lucid.' Lewis Ryder, Contemporary Physics

Review of the first edition: 'Bettini's expertise shines brightly throughout the text … The choice of topics and the level of detail are excellent … The book is extremely well-written, topically informative and easy to read – but best of all it is full of physics … I enjoyed Bettini's book three times – not unlike a fine wine: the first time when admiring its contents; the second when reading it; and a third time when teaching from it. Bravo Sandro!' James W. Rohlf, CERN Courier

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107406094
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/12/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 442
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Alessandro Bettini is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Padua, Italy, where he has been teaching experimental, general and particle physics for forty years. An experimentalist in subnuclear physics for the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), he is presently the Director of the Canfranc Underground Laboratory in Spain.

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Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Acknowledgments     xiii
Preliminary notions     1
Mass, energy, linear momentum     1
The law of motion of a particle     4
The mass of a system of particles, kinematic invariants     5
Systems of interacting particles     9
Natural units     11
Collisions and decays     13
Hadrons, leptons and quarks     19
The fundamental interactions     21
The passage of radiation through matter     23
Sources of high-energy particles     28
Particle detectors     36
Problems     52
Further reading     57
Nucleons, leptons and bosons     59
The muon and the pion     59
Strange mesons and hyperons     62
The quantum numbers of the charged pion     65
Charged leptons and neutrinos     69
The Dirac equation     74
The positron     76
The antiproton     78
Problems     81
Further reading     83
Symmetries     84
Symmetries     84
Parity     85
Particle-antiparticle conjugation     88
Time reversal and CPT     90
The parity of the pion     91
Pion decay     92
Quark flavours and baryonic number     95
Leptonic flavours and lepton number     97
Isospin     98
The sum of two isospins: the product of two representations     101
G-parity     104
Problems     105
Further reading     108
Hadrons     109
Resonances     109
The 3/2[superscript +] baryons     113
The Dalitz plot     119
Spin, parity, isospin analysis of three-pion systems     122
Pseudoscalar and vector mesons     126
The quark model     131
Mesons     133
Baryons     136
Charm     142
The third family     151
The elements of the Standard Model     157
Problems     160
Further reading     163
Quantum electrodynamics     164
Charge conservation and gauge symmetry     164
The Lamb and Retherford experiment     165
Quantum field theory     170
The interaction as an exchange of quanta     173
The Feynman diagrams and QED     176
Analyticity and the need for antiparticles     180
Electron-positron annihilation into a muon pair     183
The evolution of a     186
Problems     192
Further reading     193
Chromodynamics     194
Hadron production at electron-positron colliders     194
Scattering experiments     199
Nucleon structure     203
The colour charges     213
Colour bound states     217
The evolution of a[subscript s]     221
The origin of hadron mass     226
The quantum vacuum     229
Problems     231
Further reading     233
Weak interactions     234
Classification of weak interactions     234
Low-energy lepton processes and the Fermi constant     236
Parity violation     240
Helicity and chirality     245
Measurement of the helicity of leptons     249
Violation of the particle-antiparticle conjugation     256
Cabibbo mixing     257
The Glashow, Iliopoulos and Maiani mechanism     260
The quark mixing matrix     262
Weak neutral currents      271
Problems     272
Further reading     275
The neutral K and B mesons and CP violation     276
The states of the neutral K system     276
Strangeness oscillations     279
Regeneration     282
CP violation     284
Oscillation and CP violation in the neutral B system     288
CP violation in meson decays     298
Problems     302
Further reading     303
The Standard Model     304
The electroweak interaction     304
Structure of the weak neutral currents     307
Electroweak unification     309
Determination of the electroweak angle     313
The intermediate vector bosons     320
The UA1 experiment     324
The discovery of W and Z     329
The evolution of sin[subscript 2 theta subscript w]     336
Precision tests at LEP     338
The interaction between intermediate bosons     344
The search for the Higgs boson     347
Problems     350
Further reading     353
Beyond the Standard Model     354
Neutrino mixing     354
Neutrino oscillation      358
Flavour transition in matter     367
The experiments     373
Limits on neutrino mass     379
Challenges     382
Further reading     385
Greek alphabet     386
Fundamental constants     387
Properties of elementary particles     388
Clebsch-Gordan coefficients     393
Spherical harmonics and d-functions     395
Experimental and theoretical discoveries in particle physics     396
Solutions     399
References     418
Index     424
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