Our modern understanding of the universe includes a creation event about 13.8 billion years ago and the identification of some ultimate building blocks, called quarks and leptons. Combined with the four known forces (gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces), we can explain the behavior of familiar matter over a vast range of scales from a trillionth of a second after the universe began to our present time, nearly 14 billion years later.
This course will cover all of these topics and more. Students will learn about: the modern theory of matter (called the Standard Model), both the prediction and the discovery of the Higgs boson, new theories that scientists are exploring right now, how particle accelerators and detectors work, dark matter and energy, and what particle physics teaches us about how the universe began. In short, the class is the study of nothing, everything and all the stuff in between.
To gain historical perspective on how scientists have come to our current understanding of the nature of matter and rules that govern it.
To learn about the Higgs boson: what it is, how it was found and why it is important
To gain a broad understanding about what sorts of questions can be explored in the next decade using particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider.
To survey the technologies behind the particle accelerators and the detectors that allow scientists to record collisions between particles traveling at nearly the speed of light.
To explore the topics of dark matter and dark energy and see the deep connections between modern cosmology and the topics studied by particle physicists.