PHYSICS 7014 - Relativistic Quantum Mechanics & Particle Physics

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

Relativistic wave equations, including Dirac equations, spinors, and introduction to field quantisation.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHYSICS 7014
    Course Relativistic Quantum Mechanics & Particle Physics
    Coordinating Unit School of Physical Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Rodney Crewther

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    1. demonstrate an understanding of the founding principles of relativistic quantum mechanics;

    2. demonstrate a working knowledge of Dirac gamma matrices and their role in the Lorentz transformations of Dirac Spinors;

    3. use projection operators to filter spin and positive/negative energy solutions;

    4. demonstrate an understanding of the modern field-theoretic description of negative energy states;

    5. solve relativistic one-body problems for spin-0 and ½ particles;

    6. identify particle interactions allowed by the Standard Model and describe the physical process by which they occur.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2, 3, 4
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 5, 6
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3-6
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 3-6
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 3-6
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-6
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 3-6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    - Crewther, R., Lecture Notes: Relativistic Quantum Mechanics (2003)
    Recommended Resources

    - Bjorken, J. D. and S. D. Drell, Relativistic Quantum Mechanics, Vol. I (1964)

    - Itzykson, C. and J.-B. Zuber, Quantum Field Theory (1980)
    Online Learning

    MyUni: Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures 24 x 1-hour sessions with 2 sessions per week

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary

    Relativistic Quantum Mechanics (75%)
    - Klein Gordon Equation
    - Problems with the Klein Gordon Equation
    - Dirac Equation
    - Probability Current
    - Two-Spinor Decomposition
    - Hole Theory and the Anti-Particle Wave Function
    - Rotation Group O(3) and the Lorentz Group O(3;1)
    - Review of Tensors
    - Manipulating Exponentials of Operators
    - Transforming Spinors: Vector and Spinor Lorentz Generators
    - Lorentz Covariance of the Dirac Equation
    - Adjoint Spinor
    - Four-Current Density
    - Parity
    - Sixteen Gamma Matrices and associated Theorems for Gamma Matrices
    - Natural Units
    - Plane-Wave Solutions and their Lorentz Properties
    - Completeness and Projectors
    - Four-Spin
    - Electromagnetic Coupling, Magnetic Moment and the Gyromagnetic ratio
    - Charge Conjugation
    - Klein-Gordon Atom
    - Relativistic H Atom
    - Corrections to Dirac Spectrum

    Particle Physics (25%)
    - Introduction to Standard Model Interactions
    - Conservation of Charge, Baryon Number.
    - Conservation of Lepton and Lepton Family Number.
    - Quark Structure in Reactions.
    - Strangeness, Parity, Charge Conjugation and G-Parity.
    - Parity of the Pion.
    - Quarks and Isospin.
    - Constituent versus Current Quarks.
    - Feynman Diagrams for Physical Processes
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment task Type of assessment Percentage of total assessment
    Yes or No
    Objectives being assessed / achieved
    Assignments Formative & Summative 30% No 1-6
    Final exam Summative 70% No 1-6
    Assessment Detail

    The standard assessment consists of 2 assignments. This may be varied by negotiation with students at the start of the semester.

    Final exam
    One 3 hour exam is used to assess the understanding of and ability to use the material.

    Submission of Assigned Work
    Coversheets must be completed and attached to all submitted work. Coversheets can be obtained from the School Office (room G33 Physics) or from MyUNI. Work should be submitted via the assignment drop box at the School Office.

    Extensions for Assessment Tasks
    Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Coordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time. The assessment extension application form can be obtained from:

    Late submission of assessments
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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