SH2204 Astroparticle Physics 7.5 credits


The fields of particle physics, astronomy/astrophysics and cosmology are combined to allow an understanding of the physical processes at work in the Universe. During the course, particular emphasis will be laid on the experimental aspects of astroparticle physics through a survey of current results and the experiments used to produce them. Astroparticle physics is an extremely dynamic field with regular new and  discoveries - this will also be reflected in the topics covered during the course.

  • Education cycle

    Second cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

    A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Course offerings

Autumn 19 for programme students

Autumn 18 for Study Abroad Programme (SAP)

  • Periods

    Autumn 18 P1 (7.5 credits)

  • Application code


  • Start date


  • End date


  • Language of instruction


  • Campus


  • Tutoring time


  • Form of study


  • Number of places

    No limitation

  • Schedule

    Schedule (new window)

  • Course responsible

    Mark Pearce <>

  • Teacher

    Mark Pearce <>

    Torbjörn Bäck <>

  • Target group

    Only SAP-students. Students from UCAS only.

    Physics Background

Autumn 18 for programme students

Intended learning outcomes

After completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Classify the fundamental subatomic particles by their possible interactions.
  • Explain how ‘particle probes’ can open a new window on the universe compared to
    observations using electromagnetic radiation.
  • Explain how particles can be detected and their properties determined, and appreciate the
    limitations of different detection techniques.
  • Identify the astrophysical observations which motivate the key features of the current
    cosmological models.
  • Calculate parameters for the expansion of the universe in radiation- and matter-dominated
    epochs and compare this with observational data
  • Describe results that give evidence for the existence of dark matter, and hypothesize over the
    possible particle candidates for dark matter in the universe.
  • Experimentally confirm the existence of dark matter through radio telescope observations
  • Perform dimensional analysis to define relationships between physical variables in astrophysical
  • Interpret data from figures published in the scientific literature and use this to perform
    calculations and develop conclusions.
  • Reflect on the current ‘open questions’ in astroparticle physics and the experiments planned to
  • address these issues.

Course main content

The course gives a solid foundation in Astroparticle Physics, with a particular focus on the
experimental aspects.

  • Overview of the concepts of particle physics
  • Cosmology: Big Bang, cosmic microwave background, content and dynamics of the Universe
  • Cosmic rays: galactic, production and acceleration, detection
  • Neutrino astrophysics: stellar neutrinos, high energy neutrinos, atmospheric, detection
  • Dark matter: dark matter candidates, experiments
  • Nucleosynthesis in the Big Bang and in supernovae
  • Detection techniques: Cosmic rays, high-energy photons, polarization, benefits of
    multimessenger approach
  • Outlook and connection to other research fields


Subatomic physics (SH2103), or equivalent.

Recommended prerequisites

SH2103 subatomic physics, or equivalent.


Particle astrophysics, D. Perkins (2nd edition, 2009). OUP.



  • INL1 - Home Assignments, 5.0, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • LAB1 - Laboratory, 1.0, grading scale: P, F
  • PRO1 - Seminar, 1.5, grading scale: P, F

Home assignments (5 hp)

Seminar (1.5 hp)

Laboratory (1 hp)

Offered by



Mark Pearce,


Mark Pearce <>


Course syllabus valid from: Autumn 2013.
Examination information valid from: Autumn 2011.