PHY 612 (Theoretical Particle Physics)

Welcome to the home page for the graduate course “Theoretical Particle Physics” (PHY 612) for Fall 2017, in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Stony Brook University.

Important Accouncements

  • We will not have lectures on Thursdays 9/28, 10/12, 10/19, and 11/16. Instead, we will have make-up lectures on Fridays, 3:30pm-4:50pm, on the following dates: 9/15, 9/22, 9/29, 10/20. Room TBA.

Course Information

  • Instructor: Prof. Rouven Essig
  • Contact: rouven.essig{at}, Office: Math Tower 6-102, Phone: 631-632-7990
  • Lectures: Tue & Th 10:00am-11:20am (Room P116)
  • Books (recommended):
    • P. Langacker, “The Standard Model and Beyond”, (CRC Press, 2010)
    • M.D. Schwartz, “Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model” (Cambridge, 2013)
    • C. Quigg, “Gauge Theories of the Strong, Weak, & Electromagnetic Interactions” (Princeton, 2013)
    • Additional material (including papers & review articles) may be suggested during the course.
  • Office Hours: By appointment. Please send me an email or talk to me during class to set up a time.
  • Course Grade: Based on homework (35%), a midterm exam (25%), and a final exam (40%).
  • Course Prerequisites: PHY 610 (Quantum Field Theory I) or equivalent. You will get the most out of this course if you already know the material in Quantum Field Theory I (PHY 610). Ideally, you will also be taking concurrenly QFT-II (PHY 611), although this is not a requirement. Please talk to the instructor if you have any questions.

Course Overview & Topics

The Standard Model is an amazingly successful theory of the fundamental building blocks of matter and their interactions. This course will provide an introduction to the Standard Model of particle physics and new physics not described by it. Prior knowledge of particle physics is useful, but not required. Some knowledge of quantum field theory is assumed (PHY 610 or equivalent). A tentative and incomplete list of possible topics is:

  • Overview of the Standard Model of Particle Physics
  • Symmetries: basics, Lie groups, Lie algebras, global symmetries, chiral symmetries, gauge symmetries (abelian and non-abelian)
  • Spontaneous symmetry breaking
  • Gauge theories: Abelian, non-abelian
  • Quantum Electrodynamics (QED)
  • The standard electroweak theory: discrete symmetries (P, C, CP) and their violation, the standard SU(2)xU(1) model, Higgs mechanism, tests, flavor physics
  • Collider physics
  • Neutrino masses and mixing, oscillations, MSW effect.
  • Strong interactions and quantum chromodynamics (QCD)
  • Chiral symmetry breaking in QCD
  • Parton distribution functions
  • Beyond the Standard Model: motivation, supersymmetry, grand unification, dark matter (all very brief)
  • What’s next in particle physics? (brief)

Course Work: Homework, Midterm Exam, Final Exam

Homework problems sets and information about the Midterm and Final Exams will be posted on Blackboard. You will receive a homework problem set regularly. You are welcome to work and discuss the problems together, but everyone is required to submit their own version in the end, since this ensures that you will get the most out of the problem sets.

Additional Information

Academic Integrity

Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty are required to report any suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary. Faculty in the Health Sciences Center (School of Health Technology & Management, Nursing, Social Welfare, Dental Medicine) and School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary website at

Electronic Communication

Email to your University email account is an important way of communicating with you for this course. For most students the email address is ‘’, and the account can be accessed here: It is your responsibility to read your email received at this account.

For instructions about how to verify your University email address see this: You can set up email forwarding using instructions here: . If you choose to forward your University email to another account, you are responsible for any undeliverable messages.

Religious Observances

Students are expected to notify the course professors by email of their intention to take time out for religious observance. This should be done as soon as possible but definitely before the end of the ‘add/drop’ period. At that time they can discuss with the instructor how they will be able to make up the work covered.

Disability Support Services

If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services, ECC (Educational Communications Center) Building, room128, (631) 632-6748. They will determine with you what accommodations, if any, are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.

Students who require assistance during emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Disability Support Services. For procedures and information go to the website

Critical Incident Management

Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of Judicial Affairs any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, or inhibits students' ability to learn. Faculty in the HSC Schools and the School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures.

Past Teaching

I have taught several undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as at summer schools (see my CV ). The courses that I have taught are

  • PHY 431: Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • PHY 612: Theoretical Particle Physics I
  • PHY 613: Advanced Particle Physics
  • PHY 680: Topics in Advanced Particle Physics

I also taught at summer schools: