The Development of Particle Physics


Dr. Vitaly Kudryavtsev


Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Sheffield


E45, tel.: 2224531; E-mail:


     The course describes the development of several crucial concepts in particle physics, emphasising the role and significance of experiments. Students are encouraged to work from the original literature (the recommended text includes reprints of key papers). The course will focus not only on the particle physics issues involved, but also on research methodology - the design of experiments, the critical interpretation of data, the role of theory, etc. Topics covered include the discoveries of the neutron, the positron and the neutrino, experimental evidence for quarks and gluons, the neutral kaon system and CP violation, etc.





1. R. N. Cahn and G. Goldhaber. The experimental foundations of particle physics, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition.

2. D. H. Perkins. Introduction to high energy physics, Cambridge University Press.

3. G. D. Coughlan and J. E. Dodd. The ideas of particle physics, Cambridge University Press.

4. B. R. Martin and G. Shaw. Particle physics, John Wiley & Sons.

5.  Other textbooks on Particle Physics.


Course structure


The course follows Cahn and Goldhaber and will consist of a set of lectures by myself and 40-minute presentations by students. Students will form groups and each group will be assigned a topic that will be presented in class. The presentation should consist of an introduction to the knowledge of the time, discuss experiments and their results and describe the impact of the results. Presentations will be followed by questions and short discussions.


First lectures


02/10/19                Lecture 1. Introduction.

04/10/19                Lecture 2. Discovery of the neutron and the positron.

10/10/19                Lecture 3. Discovery of the muon and the pion.

11/10/19                Lecture 4. Discovery of strangeness.

16/10/19                Lecture 5. Resonances.


List of topics covered in the course (those, which can be chosen by students for their presentations are shown in red):


1.        Introduction.

2.        Discovery of the neutron and the positron.

3.        Discovery of the muon and the pion.

4.        Discovery of strangeness.

5.        Resonances.

6.        Antibaryons: antiprotons.

7.        Antibaryons: antineutrons.

8.        Weak interactions: experimental evidence for neutrino and two neutrinos.

9.        Weak interactions: parity violation.

10.    Kaon system: discovery of the K0L.

11.    Kaon system: CP violation.

12.    Nucleon structure: ep elastic scattering.

13.    Nucleon structure: ep inelastic scattering.

14.    Nucleon structure: neutrino-proton inelastic scattering.

15.    Discovery of J/y and charmed mesons.

16.    Tau-leptons.

17.    The fifth quark: discovery of upsilon

18.    Discovery of B-mesons.

19.    Quarks, gluons and jets: quark jets.

20.    Quarks, gluons and jets: gluon jets.

21.    Neutral currents and weak vector bosons: neutral currents.

22.    Neutral currents and weak vector bosons: charged weak vector bosons.

23.    Neutral currents and weak vector bosons: Z-bosons.

24.    Neutrino mass and oscillations.

25.    Solar neutrinos.

26.    Discovery of the top-quark.

27.    Discovery of tau-neutrino.

28.    LEP experiments.

29.    LHC experiments.



More topics for presentations can be offered if needed.


Topics for presentations and preliminary time schedule can be found here.




The assessment will consist of three elements:

1. 30% of the mark for the presentation.

2. Four homeworks contributing 10% each to the final mark.

3. Essay (about 4000 words) on a topic in particle physics amounting to 30% of the final mark.


Topics for essays


You have to submit your essay to Turnitin prior to handing it in to the office.


Please, hand in TWO hard copies to the office. It would also be good if you can send me an electronic version by e-mail if possible. This may speed up marking but will break the anonymity so is not a strict requirement. The deadline for essay submission is Wednesday, 18 December 2019, 4:00 p.m.



Some notes on giving presentation for PHY466:


As a part of PHY466 students will give presentations on some aspects on the Development of Particle Physics. The presentation should last about 40 min followed by a 5-10 minute question/discussion period.


Step 1:       Generate a draft of your talk (on a computer).

Step 2:       Talk to me, we will go through your talk and check that you have made the essential points. This should be done well in advance.

Step 3:       Revise your talk.


You can prepare your slides in the Microsoft Power Point and show them from a laptop computer using data projector. If you prepare your talk on Windows, your fonts, equations or pictures may not be seen properly on my Mac. So, please, see me well in advance to check compatibility. You can also use University computers, your own laptop or convert your presentation into pdf file.


Some hints for good presentation:


1.   Use colour (if possible), bold, italic, to make your presentation visually interesting;

2.   Do not crowd a slide and make sure your font is visible (14 pt is a small print on a slide);

3.   Make sure your figures are clear;

4.   You need no more than 1 slide per 1 minute of your talk (better 1 slide for 2 minutes). It depends on how fast you go and how dense your slides are. It is a good idea to go through your talk and time.

5.   Have a structure of your talk: tell a story beginning, middle and end.

6.   Do not exceed 40 minutesՠlimit.

7.   Start your presentation with a title and your name; include outline.

8.   End your presentation with a summary and the list of references (properly formatted).


You should provide me with an electronic copy of your presentation and this will be used in marking your presentation. I would also like to put your presentations on the web-page to allow all students to use them in preparation for answering homework questions and writing an essay.


You should view this as opportunity to learn how to speak to people in a relatively small, informal group.


Homework 1 can be found here.

Please, return it to F10 by 4:00 p.m., Monday, 21 October 2019.


Homework 2 can be found here.

Please, return it to F10 by 4:00 p.m., Monday, 4 November 2019.


Homework 3 can be found here.

Please, return it to F10 by 4:00 p.m., Monday, 18 November 2019.



 View or download lecture slides:


Lecture 1 – Introduction to the course. Discovery of the neutron and the positron.

Lecture 2 – Discovery of the muon and the pion.

Lecture 3 – Strangeness.

Lecture 4 – Resonances.

Lecture 5 – Discovery of the antibaryons.

Lectures 8-9 – The structure of the nucleon.






Presentations given by students:



Discovery of the neutrino and parity violation – by Tom Shaw, Frederick Johnson, Mostafa Shagar.

Neutral kaon system, discovery of the long-lived neutral kaon and CP violation – by Jothi Venkatesh, Michael Postill, Faye Raybould, Kieran Needham.