Topic outline

  • Introduction to the course

    Sportello contro la violenza di genere: lo Sportello è a disposizione di chi studia, fa ricerca, insegna e lavora all’Università di Pisa, alla Scuola Normale Superiore e alla Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna.

    Course goals:
    • Basic quantitative knowledge of the the physics of elementary particles and of their interactions, from the phenomenological and experimental point of view.
    • Ability to estimate quantitatively processes and experiments.
    • Knowledge of the time development of the main discoveries.

    The language of the course is English. If all the students are italian I can switch to italian upon request. 

    AA 2023-24

    Lectures will start on September 19, 2023, with the following timetable 

    Tuesday: 12.30-13.30 Aula O --> G1
    Wedneseday: 10.30-12.30 Aula O --> A1
    Friday: 10.30-13.30 AULA O --> LAB-M

    The course will be held in person. There is also a Teams channel that we we can use for messages, material, or occasional streaming in case of need. You should use to select the course you want to follow. 
    Course program:
    Lecture index: 

    Please subscribe to the course on elearning to receive communications. 

    AA 2022-23

    Lectures will start on September 20, 2022, with the following timetable (note there was an update on Friday Sep 16)

    Tuesday: 12.30-13.30 Aula O
    Wedneseday: 10.30-12.30 Aula O
    Friday: 10.30-13.30 AULA O

    The course will be held for the most part in person. At least initially there will be also a streaming connection through the Teams channel. Please subscribe to the channel. You should use to select the course you want to follow.
    Course program:
    Lecture index:

    Please subscribe to the course on elearning to receive communications.

    AA 2021-22
    The course will be held in mixed form with live streaming and recordings available on  Microsoft Teams Platform. Use AgendaDidattica  for reservations. 
    More information from the university at 
    Lectures will start in the week of September 22, with the following timetable: Monday 14.30-16.30 Aula B1, Tuesday 12.30-14.30 Aula B, Friday 10.30-12.30  -- AULA O
    An introduction to the course and the program can be found in the Module 0 course material (access through UNIPI credential).
    Course program:
    Lecture index:

    FIRST LECTURE ON   Friday,  24/9 at 10.30 in Aula O

    AA 2020-21
    The course will be held on the Microsoft Teams Platform.
    Lectures will start in the week of September 21, with the following timetable: Monday 14-16, Tuesday 14-16, Friday 11-13
    An introduction to the course and the program can be found in the Module 0 course material (access through UNIPI credential).
    Because of suspension on Sep 21 for the election day: FIRST LECTURE ON Tuesday September 22, 2020 @ 14.00

    We use the "quarto d'ora accademico" for the lecture starting time, so typically the actual starting time is about 10-15 min after the hour. We will adjust depending on what other lectures students have.
    Lecture index at

    AA 2019-2020
    Course description and program is available at
    Access to the lecture index at

    An introduction to the course and the program can be found in the Module 0 course material (access through UNIPI credential).

    electron positron annihilation in a muon pair

  • Course material

    • Books and reading material. Quick links: 

    • Important NOTE: you have to access google using an email in the domain, typically You will be redirected to the UNIPI site to enter your standard credentials.

    • Lecture slides and notes divided by academic year. Relevant papers. It may contain copyrighted material, reproduced here only for usage within the course activity. Please do not publish on the web. 

      Important NOTE: you have to access google using an email in the domain, typically You will be redirected to the UNIPI site to enter your standard credentials.

    • Il materiale utilizzato dal Prof. Costantini fino all'A.A. 2018/19 e' disponibile su drive.

  • Module 1: Historical and phenomenological introduction

    • Experimental methods in particle physics. Sources: cosmic rays, reactors and isotopes, accelerators. Extracted beams and colliders
    • Reminder of radiation detection techniques and detectors.
    • Brief history of the discovery of elementary particles and construction of the Standard Model. [Experiments: Conversi, Pancini, Piccioni; Powell; Cowen Reines, Andersen]
    • Photon, mesons, antiparticles, baryons, leptons, strange particles, quarks and gluons, intermediate vector bosons, Higgs bosons.
    • Main characteristics of the fundamental interactions and Standard Model phenomenology.
    • Forbidden and allowed diagrams in the SM.

  • Module 2: Basic methodology

    • Reminder of relativistic kinematics. Notation for 4-vectors. Mandelstam relativistic invariants. Natural units
    • Scattering and decay. Mean life, width, cross section. Lorentz-invariant phase space. Transition matrix. Fermi golden rule.
    • Relativistic equations: Klein-Gordon and Dirac. Classification of elementary particles: spin, fermions and bosons. Particles and anti-particles.
    • Concept of Feynman diagrams and calculation methods

  • Module 3: Symmetries and conservation laws.

    • Simmetries, invariance, conservation laws, symmetry breaking.
    • Discrete symmetries, C,P e T. Statement of CPT theorem.
    • Intrinsic parity of particles (P). Parity of the pion.[Chinowsky and Steinberger experiment(1954) on slow pion capture on deuteron]
    • Intrinsic charge conjugation (C). C for photon and π0.
    • Continuous symmetries and conservation laws. Statement of Noether theorem.
    • Use of group theory and their representation. Angular momentum and composition rules.
    • Isospin. Doublets (nucleon, ud quarks) and triplets (pion). Flavor SU(2) symmetry. G-Parity.
    • Baryons and mesons from ud quarks: n,p,π,Δ,ρ,ω

  • Module 4: Electrodynamics

    • Feynman rules: identical particles in final state; sum on final states; average on initial states.
    • Feynman rules for toy scalar theory. Interaction as exchange of mediator particle.
    • Charge conservation and gauge symmetry.
    • QED Feynman diagrams.
    • e+e- anihilation in a muon pair.
    • Hydrogen levels, fine and hyperfine structure, Lamb shift, [Lamb-Retherford experiment]
    • Positronium, level structure, decay channels.
    • Alpha QED evolution with energy.

  • Module 5: Hadrons and strong interactions

    • Hadronic resonances. The 3/2+ Δ baryons.
    • Associated production of K – Λ and strangeness discovery. S=-1, -2, -3 baryons
    • Dalitz plot in three-body phase space.  Angular momentum and parity of final states of two or three neutral or charged pions.
    • Pseudo-scalar mesons. Strange mesons K. The theta-tau puzzle. η, η’.
    • Vector bosons: ρ,ω, φ. ρ decay in two charged and neutral pions.
    • Approximate flavor SU(3) symmetry. Group derivation of quark model. Baryonic number. Organization in octets and decuplets.
    • Pointlike nature of quarks in Deep Inelastic Scattering
    • Hadronic production at e+e- colliders. Ratio R of hadronic production to muon pairs. Experimental evidence of quark colour.
    • Discovery of the J/psi (charm) and of its excited states.  [Richter and Ting experiments and the november revolution]
    • Angular distribution of jets and quark spin. Events with tre hadronic jets and evidence of gluon.
    • The third family and the completion of the quark model [Lederman experiment]
    • Quarkonium. Measurement of αs. OZI selection rule. 
    • Concept of running coupling constants for αQED and αs 
    • Feynman diagrams for hadronic processes.

  • Module 6: Weak interactions

    • Charged and neutral current interactions. Muon decay. Fermi constant and 4-fermion process.
    • Neutron beta decay. Pion decay and helicity suppression.
    • Neutrinos and conservation of leptonic flavor. Dirac and Majorana neutrino. Neutrinoless double beta decay [Experiment on muon neutrino flavor]
    • Limits on neutrino masses. [Measurement with tritium]
    • Parity violation in weak interactions. [Wu experiment]
    • Helicity and chirality. V-A weak currents. Pion decay.
    • Helicity of the neutrino.  [Goldhaber experiment]
    • Weak charged currents in quarks and the Cabibbo angle.
    • Charm and GIM mechanism. Absence of Flavor Changing Neutral Currents (FCNC)
    • CKM matrix and quark mixing. Particle-antiparticle conjugation violation (CP)
    • Feynman diagrams for weak processes.