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Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology

This course tackles some of the most important open questions in modern physics. The course shows how the laws of physics work over the smallest and largest distances. You will learn about particle and nuclear physics together with astrophysics and cosmology.

You will learn about the properties of the atomic nucleus. You will see how the strong force holds together nucleus. Decays (alpha, beta and gamma) will also be studied. The course covers nuclear reactions and you will learn how these can be used in a nuclear power plant. In addition you will reflect over ethical and societal questions regarding the use of nuclear energy. After the nuclear physics part of the course, you will go more deeply into the particles that exist inside the nucleus. You will learn particle physics and see how the proton and neutron consist of quarks which are held together by the strong force. You will also study the different types of particles in Nature (bosons, fermions, leptons, quarks and hadrons) and see how the Standard Model of particle physics can be used to understand how these particles interact with each other. You will also learn about Feynman diagrams and make calculations on cross sections and lifetimes. The Standard Model includes the Higgs boson and you will learn how this particle was discovered and how its existence implies that we understand the origin of the masses of the fundamental particles. You will also study phenomena that the Standard Model cannot explain such as dark matter and the asymmetry between matter and anti-matter. After the particle physics part you will study astrophysics and cosmology. You will see how stars are formed and how fusion reactions lead ultimately to the radiation we see from the sun. You will also study processes that took place in the early universe (nucleosynthesis) and will also learn about dark matter and dark energy, two mysteries that we are still unable to solve.

  • Course structure

    This course is given during daytime.

    Teaching format

    The teaching consists of lectures and exercises.


    The course is assessed through a written exam.


    David Milstead

    Phone:  08 553 786 63



  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    • Nuclear and Particle Physics: An Introduction, (B.R. Martin) - all editions are fine
    • An Introduction to Modern Cosmology, 3rd Edition (Andrew Liddle)
  • Course reports

  • More information

    When can I apply?

    Registration is open from mid-March to mid-April for courses that run in the fall, and from mid-September to mid-October for courses that run in the spring.

    Please note that many courses open for late registration in mid-July for courses in the autumn term and in mid-December for courses in the spring term.

    Read our step by step guide on how to apply

  • Contact

    Course coordinator and lectures:
    David Milstead, phone: 08 5537 8663, e-mail:
    Timothy Linden, phone: 08 5537 8617, e-mail:

    Konstantina Dachlythra-Nadia, e-mail:
    Dongwon Kim, e-mail:


    Academic advisor at the Department of Physics:

    Student office: