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Introduction to Nuclear, Particle, and Astrophysics

Module PH0016 [KTA Intro]

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2018/9

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2022/3WS 2021/2WS 2020/1WS 2019/20WS 2018/9WS 2017/8WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH0016 is a semester module in German language at Bachelor’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Mandatory Modules in Bachelor Programme Physics (5th Semester, Specialization AEP)
  • Mandatory Modules in Bachelor Programme Physics (5th Semester, Specialization BIO)
  • Mandatory Modules in Bachelor Programme Physics (5th Semester, Specialization KM)

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
240 h 90 h 8 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH0016 in the version of WS 2018/9 was Bastian Märkisch.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


In this module nuclear and particle physics will be taught in a conceptual way. Physics basic concepts from theory and experiment are taught to the students with an emphasis on experimental results and methods.

Experimental fundamentals

  • functional principles of particle accelerators
  • particle detection principles in nuclear and particle physics

Theoretical concepts

  • symmetry concepts
  • scattering and cross sections
  • Klein-Gordon and Dirac equation
  • Feynman diagram

Electromagnetic interaction

  • electron scattering and form factors
  • quasi elastic, inelastic and deep inelastic scattering and structure functions
  • parton model

Strong interaction

  • quarks: color and flavor
  • structure and properties of hadrons
  • quarks and gluons in high energy reactions
  • experimental tests of QCD

Weak interaction

  • weak decays and parity violation
  • experimental detection of W- and Z-bosons
  • standard model and higgs mechanism
  • Yukawa coupling and CKM matrix

Nuclear physics

  • radioactivity
  • models in nuclear physics
  • nuclear reactions
  • physics of dense nuclear matter
  • applications of nuclear physics


  • nuclear fusion and formation of stars
  • nucleosynthesis and fundamentals of nuclear astrophysics
  • fundamentals of cosmology

Learning Outcome

The student obtains an overview of the whole area and is able to follow all scientific colloquia in this field. After successful completion of this module the student is able to participate at continuative and specialising modules in this area.

After successful participation at this module the student is able to:

  1. comprehend the mode of operation of accelerators and detector systems used in experiments
  2. deal with theoretical concepts which are important in nuclear and particle physics
  3. know the three fundamental interactions of particle physics and their phenomenological consequences and reproduce the corresponding standard experiments and theoretical models
  4. know the most important phenomena and applications of nuclear physics and reproduce the ideas of nuclear physics
  5. comprehend the importance of nuclear and particle physics for astrophysics


PH0001, PH0002, PH0003, PH0004, PH0005, PH0006, PH0007

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VU 6 Introduction to Nuclear, Particle, and Astrophysics Fabbietti, L. Wed, 14:00–16:00, PH HS2
Mon, 10:00–12:00, PH HS2
and dates in groups
VU 6 Nuclear, Particle, and Astrophysics for Students of Education Grube, B. Wed, 14:00–16:00, PH 2271
Thu, 12:00–14:00, PH 2271
and dates in groups

Learning and Teaching Methods

lecture: teacher centered learning

tutorial: in study groups the subject matter is discussed with the help of exercise problems. These problems partly supplement the subject matter of the lecture. In doing so students are prepared for the written exam.

Discussions and supplementary explanations to the subject matter of the lecture.


blackboard / powerpoint presentation

offline video streaming of the lecture (mp4)

accompanying information online


  • Povh, Zetsche, Scholz, Rith: Teilchen und Kerne: Eine Einführung in die physikalischen Konzepte, Springer Verlag
  • Mayer-Kuckuk: Kernphysik: Eine Einführung, Teubner
  • D. Perkins: Hochenergiephysik
  • F. Halzen und A.D. Martin: Quarks and Leptons

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be a written exam of 90 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using calculation problems and comprehension questions.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Age derivation with the 14-C-method
  • Selection rules in electrodynamic transitions in nuclei
  • Nuclear fusion in the Sun
  • Fourvectors and lorenth-invariant magnitudes
  • Deep-inelastic neutrino scattering
  • Quantity of colors in the QCD
  • Dark matter and rotational curves of galaxies

Participation in the exercise classes is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

There will be a bonus (one intermediate stepping of "0,3" to the better grade) on passed module exams (4,3 is not upgraded to 4,0). The bonus is applicable to the exam period directly following the lecture period (not to the exam repetition) and subject to the condition that the student passes the mid-term of

  • 60% of points from the exercise sheets
  • presenting a solution in the exercise groups at least once

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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