First Cycle Degree


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First semester
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

At the end of this course, the student is expected to:
- know the fundamental properties of matter at the nuclear and subnuclear scale;
- know the main experimental methods employed in nuclear and particle physics;
- know the main experiments of the past and understand their conceptual impact on the advance of knowledge;
- being able to compute cross sections and decay rates for simple processes;
- being able to apply symmetry principles and conservation laws to problems of nuclear and particle physics.
- being able to communicate complex physical concepts in an efficient way, emphasising the key issues both on the theoretical and on the experimental side.
- Being able to self-evaluate one's knowledge of a wide field such as nuclear and subnuclear physics, differentiating between conceptual and technical aspects.


Basic knowledge of classical physics, quantum mechanics and special relativity.

Course contents summary

Nuclei and Elementary Particles Physics

Course contents

Introduction: fundamental constituents of matter, fundamental interactions, symmetries and conservation laws, units;

First part: special relativity
- Symmetries in physics
- Lorenz transformations and group
- Relativistic kinematics
- Exercises on relativistic kinematics

Second part: nuclear physics
- General properties of nuclei
- Nuclear stability
- Nuclear scattering
- Geometrical properties of nuclei
- Nuclear force:nucleon-nucleon scattering, the deuteron
- Nuclear structure: Fermi gas model, shell model, beta decay
- Nuclear thermodynamics: primordial nucleosynthesis and stellar nucleosynthesis

Third part: particle-matter interactions;
- Energy losses in matter
- Bohr and Bethe-Bloch formulas
- Cerenkov effect
- Bremsstrahlung, pair production
- Electromagnetic and hadronic showers

Fourth part: elementary particle physics;
- Nucleons, leptons and mesons
- Symmetries: generalities, C, P, and T, lepton and baryon number, isospin
- Lie groups
- Hadrons and resonances
- Quark model
- Quantum electrodynamics
- Weak interactions
- Neutrinos: mixings, oscillations and masses

Recommended readings

Notes given by the lecturer;
B. Povh et al, "Particles and Nuclei", Springer, 1995
K. S. Krane, "Introductory Nuclear Physics", Wiley, 1987

Teaching methods

Classroom discussions, lead by students, of the exercises assigned as homework.

Assessment methods and criteria

The evaluation of the student's learning will be articulated in two parts:
1) a written test, of two hours, divided in two sections: a multiple choice quiz and some exercises.
2) an interview on the subjects of the course.

During the course there will be two intermediate written tests. If both of them are passed, the student may opt for skipping the written test "1)" above.

The final evaluation will be obtained by summing the results of the written tests to +/- 3 points obtained from the oral exam.

Problems in preparation of the written test will be proposed and solved during the classes. Moreover, examples of written tests, along with their solutions, will be provided in advance.
The results of the tests will be communicated to students via the Elly platform, an the lecturer will be available for individual meeting with those students willing to have clarifications on the evaluation of their test.