High-energy nuclear (heavy-ion) physics

rpnhenpf20em, a.k.a. fffn9a85, fffn9a78, FIZ/2/094E


Goal of this class is to learn about the experimental background, basic observables, phenomenological ideas and theories of high energy nucleus-nucleus collisions. Once completed, the student shall be familiar with the main concepts hence will understand the main message of most talks on a high energy heavy ion physics conference.

These main topics will be covered at the lectures:

  1. Introduction to high energy nuclear physics: basics of particle physics, heavy ion experiments, time evolution of heavy ion collisions, basic phenomenology. Slides: [pdf], [pptx]
  2. Heavy ion and particle colliders: types of accelerators, present-day colliders (e.g. SPS, RHIC, LHC), types of particle detectors. Slides: [pdf], [pptx]; an older set of slides: [pdf], [pptx]
  3. Complex detector systems: setup of NA61, PHENIX, STAR, CMS, ALICE, event characterization, tracking, particle identification, data aquisition. Slides: [pdf], [pptx]; an older set of slides: [pdf], [pptx]
  4. Hard probes: nuclear modification, jet reconstruction, heavy quarks, jet correlations, photons. Slides: [pdf], [pptx]
  5. Soft probes: angular correlations, momentum anisotropies, quark degrees of freedom, thermal effects, viscosity. Slides: [pdf], [pptx]
  6. Femtoscopy: basics of the HBT effect, quantum-statistics, femtoscopy, core-halo model, final state interactions, coherence, hydrodynamic scaling, Gaussian and Lévy sources. Slides: [pdf], [pptx]
  7. The QCD phase diagram: theoretical and phenomenological calculations, experimental results, planned future experiments. Slides: [pdf], [pptx]
  8. Microscopic calculations: perturbative QCD, lattice QCD. Slides: [pdf], [pptx]
  9. Hydrodynamics: nonrelativistic and relativistic equations, simple consequences, simple solutions, hydrodynamic models, scaling, numerical simulations. Slides: [pdf], [pptx]
  10. Phenomenology: kinetic theory, effective theories (Linear Sigma Model, PNJL, etc) [pdf], extended lecture notes: [pdf], a previous set of slides: [pdf]
These topics cover a lecture each, and there will be a project task at the end of the semester, substituting a regular verbal or written exam.


Necessary knowledge

Familiarity with special relativity and quantum mechanics is required, as well as basic knowledge of particle and nuclear physics. Some understanding of the concepts of quantum field theories is useful, as well as a basic understanding of information technology concepts. For the project work, working knowledge of C++ is needed.

Study materials

To be created along the course of the lectures in 2020/21


Information for project tasks

Description of the tasks

Slides: [pdf], [pptx]

Useful materials

In order to complete this course, you need to be familiar with c++ and ROOT. Below are some materials that may be helpful.

Working with real data

Máté Csanád
February 5, 2021