Mar 15, 2020

University Course: The Relativistic Quantum World - 2014, 2017, 2020

The Relativistic Quantum World is a first year university course on the concepts of special relativity theory and quantum mechanics. The course is given at the University of Maastricht for the third time in 2020 and consists of 10 one-hour lectures, divided of 5 Wednesday-evenings in the period March 4 - April 8, 2020.


In the beginning of the previous century our fundamental view of nature revolutionised with the birth of the theory of relativity and of quantum mechanics. In the course of the century a beautiful theoretical framework, called the Standard Model, was developed and its realisation in nature was step-by-step verified with the discovery of new, fundamental particles, culminating in the recent discovery of the Higgs boson. The lecture series contains a mini-course of ten one-hour lectures. We discuss the fundamental elements of the special and general relativity theory and quantum mechanics with a particular emphasis on the counter-intuitive aspects of both theories; the relativistic quantum world is fundamentally different from our macroscopic world.
Lectures 1-8 of the course are included the lecture notes. Lectures 9 and 10 are given in colloquium style.
Example image - aligned to the right The Lectures are:
1: Principle of Relativity and the Speed of Light (pptx, pdf).
2: Time Dilation and Lorentz Contraction (pptx, pdf).
3: Lorentz Transformation and Paradoxes (pptx, pdf).
4: General Relativity and Gravitational Waves (pptx, pdf).
5: The Early Quantum Theory (pptx, pdf).
6: Feynman's Double Slit Experiment (pptx, pdf).
7: The Delayed Choice and Schrodinger's Cat (pptx, pdf).
8: Quantum Reality and the EPR Paradox (pptx, pdf).
9: The Standard Model (pptx, pdf).
10: The Large Hadron Collider (pptx, pdf).

High School Course, 2nd year Cygnus gymnasium Amsterdam:
"Het Quantum Universum" - 2014

A high school course on the macro and mini universe in dutch. The slides are:
Les 1: Het macro univesrum deel 1: De Aarde in het Heelal.
Les 2: Het macro universum deel 2: Begin en Einde van het Heelal.
Les 3: Het micro universum: Bouwstenen van Materie en Kracht.
Les 4: Massa en het Higgs Boson.
Les 5: Materie en Antimaterie.
Les 6: Speciale en Algemene Relativiteitstheorie.
Les 7: Samenvatting.

Master Student Course: Particle Physics 1 - 2017

Latest information:

  • First lecture is on september 4th at 9h00 am in room H331 at Nikhef.
  • Other lectures start at 9h30.
  • Particle Physics 1 is a 1-st year course on particle physics in the master program for experimental physics at the UvA, VU and UU. The course consists of 14 half-day lectures/tutorials and takes place in the 1st semester at nikhef. The first 10 lectures will be given by Marcel Merk and the last 4 lectures by Ivo van Vulpen. Further information can be found in this sheet. Course information can also be found on datanose.

    The course covers an introduction to gauge theories and the standard model. The covered material can be found in several standard text books. The recommended book for this course is "Modern Particle Physics" by Mark Thomson. Older books, such as Halzen and Martin's "Quarks & Leptons: an Introductory Course in Modern Particle Physics" and in Griffiths' "Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics", second, revised edition, are fine as well. We strongly encourage students to acquire one of these books.

    A write up of the course is available as a set of lecture notes. A printed copy of the notes will be handed out in the first lecture. The lecture notes consists of 14 chapters, each one consists of one lecures. Course exercises can also be found in the lecture notes. The course summary slides are here and here.


    The course Particle Physics 1 is an theoretical course on quantum electrodynamics and electroweak theory in the experimental master. It contains a single particle quantum mechanics treatment of perturbation theory leading to the Feynman rules of electromagnetic and electroweak interactions. The course starts with a discussion of wave equations for spinless particles followed by a Lorantz covariant description of the electromagnetic field. A recap of non-relativistic perturbation theory leads to Fermi's golden rule, which is extended to the relativistic scattering and an example of an electromagnetic scattering process of spinless particles is calculated.
    Example image - aligned to the right The second part of the course treats particles of spin=1/2: the fundamental fermions. The Dirac equation is derived and solutions are studied. The Feynman rules for fermions follow from the wave equations and the annihilation scattering process of an electron pair into a muon pair is calculated.
    Subsequently the weak interaction is studied in analogy starting from the 4-point interaction model of Fermi. The V-A structure is discussed as well as the flavour changing aspects of the charged current interaction and the CKM matrix.
    The final part of the course contains a discussion of the principle of local gauge invariance for electrodynamics as well as for electroweak interactions resulting from the Standard Model symmetry: SU(2) x U(1). The course concludes with the Born level calculation of the electroweak cross section of e+e- -> mu+ mu-process at the Z-pole and the observation of the number of neutrino generations by LEP-1.

    Graduate Student Lectures

    Gradiate student lectures on Flavour Physics:

    Link to UvA Lectures Frank here.