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Prereqs for learning particle physics?

  1. Apr 30, 2016 #1
    I want to start studying particle physics on my own and wanted to know what the prerequisite are? I'm in my second year of college and have finished Calc. 3 and Physics with calc. 3. I'd also be interested in textbook recommendations.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2016 #2


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    On the theoretical side, particle physics is quantum field theory. Relativistic quantum mechanics helps, which then needs special relativity and nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. Electrodynamics is probably useful to understand special relativity better. Nonrelativistic quantum mechanics relies on concepts introduced in classical mechanics (in particular, Hamilton/Lagrange formalism) and algebra and analysis.

    On the experimental side, special relativity is absolutely necessary, if you want to understand the detectors some solid-state physics is necessary, electrodynamics for sure, maybe electronics depending on the level of detail.

    I'm sure I forgot some points.
  4. Apr 30, 2016 #3
    try Quantum Physics: The Theoretical Minimum - Books 1 & 2 - by Susskind
  5. Apr 30, 2016 #4
    Thanks for the recommendation, I'll check it out.
  6. Apr 30, 2016 #5
    Thanks for your advice, looks like I have some work to do :)
  7. May 1, 2016 #6


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    An excellent undergraduate book is Griffiths "Introduction to Elementary Particles"
  8. May 1, 2016 #7
    "Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics" by Alessandro Bettini, and "Particle Physics" by B.R.Martin and G.Shaw are both good and used in many third year introductory courses. Most courses at this level also require an introductory course in quantum physics as a prerequisite, so you need that background.

    Also, you can search online for a syllabus, lecture slides, course notes, etc. for an introductory course. That can help you plan your studies.
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
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