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Good particle physics primer

  1. Jul 7, 2006 #1
    Hi all,

    I'm a rising sophomore in college and intern at SLAC. I'm trying to pick up a little bit more of a background in particle physics so I can analyze rare B decays. I've read a few books that have covered particle physics, but I've just picked up the flavor of it (no pun intended). I'm currently reading Intro to Elementary Particles by Griffiths, which is good, but maybe a little too technical for my purposes. Does anyone know of any good primers, online or printed? It would be nice to start with a simple but comprehensive guide, so that it would then be easier to delve into the more technical stuff.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 7, 2006 #2
    Oops, I didn't read the sticky. That's a decent starting place.
  4. Jul 8, 2006 #3


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    Imo griffiths is about as elementary as you are going to get. I kinda had the same problem when I was a freshman/sophomore in college. I had quantum mechanics I at the 400 lvl but I didn't yet have the full tools necessary to study nuclear physics, which I was interning for. So I had to scrounge through the library looking for texts that would explain to me what was going on, more or less without success. I basically needed a proffessor to do it for me at that point as I still had serious confusions about what I was doing. I kinda figured out its really something that doesnt click until you have several (3-4) courses that naively seem unrelated under your belt.

    Particle physics is even worse, as it really (imo) doesnt make one inch of sense without quantum mechanics II and field theory.

    You need to understand Feynman diagrams and have a good basis of classical scattering theory (look up Rutherford scattering for a start to get a good feel for what differential cross sections are, as well as branching ratios and the various other things people measure in an experiment). Griffiths is pretty good on that point, but it does take a certain discipline to go through it without having a full understanding of relativistic QM (which is still rare at your lvl)
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