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Particle Physics at Colliders and in the High Energy Universe

Module PH2081

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 2019/20

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 2021/2WS 2020/1WS 2019/20WS 2018/9WS 2017/8WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH2081 is a semester module in German or English language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

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

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics

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

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 30 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2081 in the version of WS 2019/20 was Frank Simon.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


This module provides an introduction to modern particle physics at the interface of accelerator-based experiments and astro-particle physics. It covers:

  • Current topics in particle physics at the highest energy with a thorough discussion of the experimental methods, including: The Standard Model, the Higgs Boson, Physics beyond the Standard Model and a general introduction to high-energy proton-proton collisions
  • An introduction to cosmology
  • High-energy processes in the early Universe from thermal freeze-out to the cosmic microwave background
  • Design and technology of the Large Hadron Collider and the corresponding experiments
  • Particle acceleration in the Universe

Learning Outcome

After successful participation in this module, the student is able to

  1. Have an understanding of basic concepts of modern particle physics
  2. Understand the basic principles of Cosmology
  3. Discuss key topics of modern particle physics at the Large Hadron Collider, both within the Standard Model and beyond
  4. Discuss the particle physics processes in the early Universe
  5. Understand the concepts of modern accelerators and accelerator experiments
  6. Describe the experimental detection of particles and the interactions of particles with matter
  7. Describe cosmic acceleration mechanisms and sources
  8. Understand the close connection between cosmology and particle physics


Introductory lecture in nuclear, particle and astrophysics (e.g. bachelor module PH0016).

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

This module consists of a lecture and a journal club. The lecture presents the learning content in consecutive topical blocks and provides extensive cross references to latest results in particle and astroparticle physics, which can be used by the students to deepen their understanding of individual topics. The lecture continuously offers the possibility for intensive discussions of the topics of the course and thematically related questions that arise from the referenced material. In the journal club, selected scientific publications are discussed to explore topics in more detail and to strengthen the connection to current research. 


PowerPoint and blackboard presentation, website for presentation material, additional literature and links. For the journal club access to the relevant publications is provided. 


  • M. Thomson: Modern Particle Physics, Cambridge University Press, (2013)
  • L. Bergström and A. Goobar: Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics, Springer, (2004)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of 30 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Describe the working principle and the most important elements of modern particle accelerators
  • How is the energy of particles measured in collider experiments?
  • How are Higgs bosons produced at the LHC, and how do they decay?
  • Which open questions of the Standard Model of Particle Physics could be solved by Supersymmetry?
  • What can we learn about the early universe from the CMB power spectrum?
  • What are the models for the acceleration mechanism of UHE cosmic rays?
  • What is the difference between thermal freeze out of neutrinos and WIMPs?

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

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