Particle physics deals with the fundamental building blocks of matter and their interactions. The exploration of subatomic physics started in 1896 with Becquerel's discovery of radioactivity; and J.J. Thomson's discovery of the electron as a component of the atom. Since then it has been a constant source of surprises, unexpected phenomena, and fresh insights into the laws of nature.

Today, with the so called Standard Model of particle physics, the building blocks of matter and their interactions are contained in an elegant and all comprising framework that in principle allows to understand all ever measured physical phenomenon, except for those that entail gravity.

This course will give an introduction in the tools and methods of particle physics:

  • scattering experiments
  • accelerating particles
  • passing of radiation through matter
  • detecting particles
  • electro-magnetic, strong and weak interactions
  • symmetries and conservation laws
  • quarks and leptons
  • the Standard Model of particle physics
  • Higgs
  • modern problems in particle physics and outlook
With the basic constituents of matter and their interactions discussed, on overview in nuclear physics will also be given.
The exercises «Particle Physics» will take place biweekly on the following dates:

  • 1, 15, 29 October
  • 12, 26 November
  • 10 December

Learning Outcomes for "Radioactivity and Radiation" Fall Term 2014

Students having attended successfully this lecture will be able to understand:

- The origin and the sources of natural and artificial radioactivity and cosmic radiation,

- The basic principles of radioecology i.e. the behaviour of radionuclides in the biosphere),

- Radiation fields, detection and measurement of radiation and doses, radiation doses and radiation risk for humans,

- The most important applications of radiation and nuclear fission and their consequences for man and environment,

- some basic information on non ionizing radiation. 

Summary (the files on Moodel contain more information than will be presented at the lectures):

● Introduction and History: Who, When and What; List of Books

● Natural Radioactivity, Cosmic radiation, Radon

● Radioactive Decay, Nuclide Chart

● Interaction of Radiation with matter

● Radiation fields (Examples)

● Some basic knowledge on radiation protection, ICRP recommendations, Swiss legislation, radioactive sources in the laboratory

● Detection of radiation and charged particles, Environmental monitoring

● Applications and their impact on man and environment: Nuclear fission, Nuclear weapons, Nuclear reactors, Accidents, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Goîania, Algeciras, etc.

● Radiation doses and some basic knowledge on radiation biology

Recommended for future physicist and students in natural sciences in the 2nd year

Documents will be available on Moodle2 (with Password):

For further information:

Prof. Dr. Hansruedi Völkle (room 2.62; 026 300 9161;


Lecturer: Voelkle Hansruedi

You will get the password at the first lecture.

Lecture dates are (Mo 13-15h): September: 15 and 29; October: 6, 13, 20, and 27; November: 10, 17 and 24; Dezember: 1, and 22. Attention: no lecture on september 22, November 3 and December 8.  

Bei aktiver Teilnahme an diesem Kurs wird der/die Student(in) die physikalischen Prinzipien verstanden haben, die für das Verständnis des gesunden Körpers notwendigen sind. Er/sie wird die Grundzüge der Mechanik, der Elektrizitätslehre, des Magnetismus und der Eigenschaften von Festkörpern, Flüssigkeiten, Gasen und Lösungen kennengelernt haben und sich in die Anwendung der Mathematik zur Beschreibung physikalischer Prozesse eingearbeitet haben.

I. Mechanik:
· Translation, · Rotation, · Schwingung und Welle

II. Eigenschaften: Festkörper, Flüssigkeiten, Gase, Lösungen
· Mechanik deformierbarer Körper, · Gase und Lösungen, · Thermische Eigenschaften

III. Elektrizität und Magnetismus:
· Elektrizitätslehre, · Magnetismus, · Elektromagnetische Welle