Particle Physics 2: Standard Model

Winter, 2010

In this series Professor Susskind continues his particle physics theme, focusing on the foundations of the Standard Model, which describes the interactions and properties of the observed particles. These lectures cover the basics of group theory, symmetry, symmetry breaking, which are the natural way to describe the known particles. Several lectures are devoted to the way that particles get their mass, popularly known as the Higgs mechanism.  (Image credit: Atlas Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider)

Lectures in this Course

  1. 1

    Particles fields and forces

    In the first lecture of the series Professor Susskind introduces theoretical concepts underlying the standard model. He also gives a zoological overview of the observed particles.
  2. 2

    Quantum chromodynamics

    Isospin is introduced by analogy to spin. Color is introduced as a solution for the existence of delta particles (uuu), which would otherwise have all quarks in the same state - illegal for fermions. Gluons properties are describe by analogy to... [more]
  3. 3

    Group theory – part 1

    This is the first of two lectures focusing on group theory. Basic concepts of group theory are introduced and connected to particle properties like spin and color.
  4. 4

    Group theory – part 2

    Professor Susskind continues developing group theory, making connections from group generators and subgroups to particles. Gluons properties are explored with this framework, including confinement of quarks.
  5. 5

    Gauge fields and symmetry

    Professor Susskind describes the concept of a gauge field and it's associated symmetries. Symmetries lead to conserved charges like the electric charge and color. These concepts are used to describe the weak interaction.
  6. 6

    The weak interaction

    In this lecture Professor Susskind continues with the weak interaction, answering the question "Why is the weak force weak?" He connects this to the form of the propagator in Feynman diagrams. The lecture ends with the introduction of explicit and... [more]
  7. 7

    Spontaneous symmetry breaking and Goldstone bosons

    In this lecture Professor Susskind shows how spontaneous symmetry breaking in a field theory can lead to the creation of Goldstone bosons like the photon and gluons.
  8. 8

    The Higgs field

    The Goldstone boson gets eaten, giving mass to the gauge boson via the Higgs field.
  9. 9

    The Higgs field and fermions

    Professor Susskind continues his description of the Higgs mechanism focusing on giving mass to fermions.
  10. 10

    Renormalization and the running of coupling constants

    The final lecture returns to renormalization, the mass of fermions, the W boson and the expected mass scale of the Higgs. Professor Susskind finishes with the running of the coupling constants and the interesting fact that they appear to unify at an... [more]