What is particle physics -
It's a branch of Physics dealing with the elementary constituent of matter and radiation as well as the interaction between them. It is also known HEP or High Energy Physics because the most of elementary particles do not occur at normal circumstances were as they require high energy collision of other particle normally done in particle accelerator.
From stars to planets to us everything is made up from some basic building blocks known as particles of matter. Some of particles required a huge amount of energy and were seen only during the billionth second of Big Bang and other makes up the remaining matter around us today.
Particle Physics: an Introduction -
Modern day particle physics began in the early 20th century with the exploration of structure of atom. The Gold-foil experiment done by Rutherford to discover the nucleus was the foundation stone of the field. The composites were found later, which was Proton (1919) and Neutron (1932). In 1920 the field of Quantum Physics began to give the description for the structure of atom. But the binding and the force behind such binding of Nucleus was not known at that time. In mid 1930's Yukawa came up with a Idea of strong nuclear force mediated due to a new particle Meson, similarly Fermi postulated neutrino and separately positron and muon were discovered by Anderson. Yukawa's discovered Meson was discovered in form of Pion in 1947. Till 1960 a zoo of discovered particle was established, they were discovered in scattering experiment. To escape this zoo it was postulated that all Mesons and Baryons were made of a particle known as Quarks. Till yet quarks are assumed as a dot in geometry, i.e. they are not made up of anything.
A fundamental particle is a particle with no further building blocks if these is no substructure then it can be said that all things in this universe is made up of these building blocks. If we take atom as tiny then the nucleus is ten thousand times tiny. We actually don't know how small are Quarks and electron are but we can assume them as geometrical points, but yet we are not certain that Quarks ad electron are fundamental particles they might be made up of something more. There are two points like constituent known as Quarks and Leptons and for every founded particle there exists an anti-matter particle or simply antiparticle. Antiparticle looks and behaves similar to particle just it's that they have opposite charge. Both leptons and Quarks exist in 3 sets each is called a generation of matter.
The visible matter in universe is made up of 1st Generation matter particle because all other 2nd and 3rd Gen particle are unstable and decay into 1st. Every particle is assigned with an angular momentum known as spin, spin of a particle is universal and never change i.e. electron will always have a spin of ½.
Classification according to spin => Ferminos: 1/2, Boson:1 & Scalar Particle:0
Most of the matter we see is made up of proton and neutron and further comprised of Quarks, there are Six Quarks but we take them in pair as three => up/down, charm/strange & top/bottom. (For each such Quark there is an antiquark). Quarks weirdly have partial charges no similar to Proton and Electron. A new charge to Quark is introduced and in known as color charge (need deeper study).
Fundamentally there are 4 types of forces Gravitational, Electrostatic, Weak & Strong force. Out of these weak and strong forces act at a very small distance and are responsible for holding the nucleus. According to Pauli's Principle two atoms can never overlap each other and hence cannot pass over. The nucleus internal forces are said to be present due to exchange of "field quanta" known as "gauge bosons". The postulate scalar particle i.e. no spin particle has not been discovered yet.
Range of forces is related to the mass 'M' exchange of the particle. The force acting between all Quarks and Leptons is the weak force and EM act between all charged particles, the strong force act between all Quarks (color charge), Gravitational force is not of any sense when we talk of sub atomic particles. Quarks can never stay isolated as the distance between two quarks increases the strong force i.e. the color force also increases. Another postulated particle is Gravitons which is responsible for the gravitational force. This theory is different from the one given by Quantum according to which mass curves space and time. Here Gravitons have a spin of 2 and are assume to be mass less.
Some common numbers in particle physics -
Baryon Number, here Baryons have Baryon number +1 and oppositely anti-baryon has -1 baryon number.
Lepton number, similar to Baryon number here also Leptons have +1 and anti-leptons have -1 lepton numbers but there is another, Nonlepton with lepton number 0.
Another thing of interest is particle decay each unstable particle have its own a characteristic mean lifetime = t and it is related to its half-life t1/2, Given by the formula t1/2= (ln 2)t Lifetime.
Last but not the least Higgs Boson Particle also the most expensive particle of all time, the discovery of electron took only a cathode tube while its discovery took the kind of energy which was rarely seen before on the planet. It is commonly or popularly known as the 'God Particle', when an ample of such particles get together they form the Higgs Field which is responsible for other particle to have mass. Without such field particle will travel all away at speed of light, atoms will not exist, it is reason so all particle can travel. The more particle interact with it means the higher mass it contain and the higher is the mass tougher it gets to move around. Peter Higgs postulated about it around 50 years back but was very tough to locate one due to its unstable nature at Large Hadron Collider, when the protons were accelerated to the speed of light and smashed then in about once in 10 billion collisions once the particle was to be formed in 2013 it was seen with a mass about 125gigaelectronvolt. Its study is still in progress and yet believed that it will unfold much more unknown and important fact of universe. Its symbol is Ho.
All student Need to Know to Get Started on Particle Physics -
To get started firstly you must know the reason behind the study of particle physics. Particle physics let us know the nature and composition of every visible and non-visible object present around us and hence is the key to all the hidden knowledge of universe.
Secondly knowledge of fundamental particle and fundamental forces discussed above is must, either person can look them up in books or on internet or can go through above section but the knowledge of these both is must.
Knowledge of accelerator and collider, their design their use and other important stuff regarding them like their history and kind of them being used right now and their future possible or in progress development is key part to be known.
And yes the basic physics knowledge like SI units and fundamental knowledge like study of forces, waves, basic chemistry; Dimensional analysis, classic and modern physics experiments and their experimental set up knowledge must be gained.
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