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Back to Particle Physics: an Introduction

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Particle Physics: an Introduction by University of Geneva

384 ratings
116 reviews

About the Course

This course introduces you to subatomic physics, i.e. the physics of nuclei and particles. More specifically, the following questions are addressed: - What are the concepts of particle physics and how are they implemented? - What are the properties of atomic nuclei and how can one use them? - How does one accelerate and detect particles and measure their properties? - What does one learn from particle reactions at high energies and particle decays? - How do electromagnetic interactions work and how can one use them? - How do strong interactions work and why are they difficult to understand? - How do weak interactions work and why are they so special? - What is the mass of objects at the subatomic level and how does the Higgs boson intervene? - How does one search for new phenomena beyond the known ones? - What can one learn from particle physics concerning astrophysics and the Universe as a whole? The course is structured in eight modules. Following the first one which introduces our subject, the modules 2 (nuclear physics) and 3 (accelerators and detectors) are rather self contained and can be studied separately. The modules 4 to 6 go into more depth about matter and forces as described by the standard model of particle physics. Module 7 deals with our ways to search for new phenomena. And the last module introduces you to two mysterious components of the Universe, namely Dark Matter and Dark Energy....

Top reviews


Aug 05, 2017

Challenging at first for someone with a non-traditional academic background, but thoroughly enjoyable and worth completing, if nothing but for the personal satisfaction of getting through it!


Apr 23, 2017

Very interesting course. Quite difficult to pass week 6 due to a question on w boson quark transformation. Couldnt find answers in sylabus. Maybe just me. Overall excellant course.

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1 - 25 of 115 Reviews for Particle Physics: an Introduction

By Dr. B D

Oct 09, 2018

It's difficult to say what is exactly wrong with this course. I can say that I have a masters degree in nuclear astrophysics and a PhD in nuclear physics. Not to be unkind, but I absorbed very little new information from this course, and I know very little about particle physics. I think a major problem is the language barrier, even though the target audience is English-speaking, the accents were so thick and pronunciations so bad, that I had to turn on subtitles just to understand what was being said. This is especially true of the two female instructors. If there were ancillary materials, I somehow missed them, but the videos were less than adequate for passing the tests. I often resorted to trial and error to pass the individual tests. Thus, the course became more of a test for my test-taking strategies than mastering any new understanding of physics. Perhaps, it might not be popular with your target, but improvements might be made with at least some required reading and a few homework problems in each module. And for the love of God, if you're just going to read the transcripts on camera anyway, get some speakers who speak English better.

By Brice B

Jun 23, 2018

I previewed the course. This is one of the worst course I have watched on Coursera. You would expect people who teach physics to know that you cannot do it by showing slides after slides while reading through your notes at a very fast pace. Apparently, these people don't. In the introduction, they say: "It would also be good if you had basic notion on the restricted relativity and quantum mechanics. But in any case, it will give you a quick reminder of this notion and the specific vocabulary." Note first that this is incoherent: if one doesn't have the basic notions (I actually did) one needs more than a quick reminder (how could one be reminded of what one doesn't know, I wonder?) Second, what they give is a VERY quick reminder. Don't look for the videos on quantum mechanics and restricted relativity because there are none, we are here talking of a few slides rushed through... Appalling.

By Carlos E L F

Feb 11, 2018

It was in general a very useful introduction to the basic notions of both theoretical and experimental Particle physics. While it is true one cannot contain all the concepts in just one course, it nevertheless helped me cover all the undergraduate aspects I lacked in my education about Particle Physics and a basis to focus on Quantum Field Theory and Theoretical Physics, while at the same time having important notions on experimental physics and Cosmology. However, I would rate that the course was a bit easier than expected, as the number of obligatory calculations was kept to a minimal. I think it would have been interesting to add some exercises that involved basic calculations in quantum field theory, such as cross sections or decay for a particular process (apart from those shown in the lectures).

By Massimo M

Mar 10, 2018

Very good introduction to the subject. Some prerequisite are mandatory to full grasp all contents, anyway you can go through the course since graded quizzes are not so hard, in my opinion. Thanks to authors for sharing these materials on Coursera and to mentor that can clarify if you have any doubt.


By James W

Nov 25, 2018

Fantastic course for graduate students needing a refresher, or other folks with cursory knowledge of the topic already. Not a great course for someone's first introduction to the material.

By Jrisa S

Oct 22, 2017

I would prefer the videos to have more added value regarding the "teaching dimension" of the course, for example 1) the most important issues could be better explained and emphasized (as this is very well done in the section of the quizes), 2) the part of the slide that is being analysed at each moment should be somehow pointed at, 3) a few animations would be very helpful, 4) since every presentation consists only of reading the lecture slides, it would be better to select some people with a better english accent (no offence there), because it is very difficult to watch the video and read the subtitles trying to understand what is being said at the same time.

Apart from the above, this course is an extremely good effort to make a very useful, summarised and yet complete reading meterial about particle physics.

Thank you

By Tabish S

May 08, 2017

This is a wonderful course that offers an organized, streamlined, challenging introduction to particle physics that I think is presented in an educating and effective manner!

By Matthew O

Jun 25, 2019

This course is invaluable for any individual looking to advance their knowledge in particle and quantum physics. HOWEVER, the lecturers have thick accents and I found it nearly impossible to understand a lot of what they were saying. It is helpful to have the transcript, but it is frustrating to try and see their notes in the tiny screen on the side. And trying to go up and down on the screen to see the notes, and also understand what's being said, is obnoxious and frustrating.

Along with that, the audio for the intro/outro for the videos is DEAFENINGLY loud compared to the audio during the lectures. Be warned, if you're using headphones, you will lose a good chunk of your hearing.

It's also important to have a relatively solid understanding of physics and calculus before taking the course. I found some sections more difficult because I didn't understand those parts. A personal problem, for sure, but be warned if you have no understanding of the material prior to taking this course.

By tom w

Feb 08, 2019

This course is taught by experts in the field that are involved in exploring the frontiers of the particle physics world at the world's leading particle physics research center (CERN). The instructors provide excellent documentation throughout along with additional commentary, optional materials and some derivations. If you've been interested to know more about the particle physics world, the ideas and background on the search for the Higgs boson, along with discussions of dark matter and dark energy, you won't be disappointed. Quizzes are challenging and provide additional learning opportunities. If its been a while since you've had college physics, don't be discouraged, the option to retake tests and quizzes allow you to deepen your learning and improve your score. Many thanks to Martin, Mercedes and Anna for an excellent learning experience!

By Mikhal L B

Mar 04, 2019

The concepts presented in this introductory course were a little beyond me at first, but after sometime I began to understand the concepts that governed how particles interact to create the universe we see today. I believe that I will need to keep studying these concepts to truly understand everything that has been discovered about particle physics, but I believe that this course has given me a good start in comprehending the basics of particle physics.

By Maya H

Aug 05, 2017

Challenging at first for someone with a non-traditional academic background, but thoroughly enjoyable and worth completing, if nothing but for the personal satisfaction of getting through it!

By Eoin P

Apr 23, 2017

Very interesting course. Quite difficult to pass week 6 due to a question on w boson quark transformation. Couldnt find answers in sylabus. Maybe just me. Overall excellant course.

By Daria U

Apr 27, 2018

Great course! Things definitely become clear while taking courses like that. Interesting and logically structured, includes both math aspects and laboratory experiments.

By Lily S

Nov 17, 2018

easy to understand!!!! I'm in 8th grade and this course was fun and easy to follow. could explain the equations better though

By Philip R

Sep 09, 2018

An interesting an engaging introduction to particle physics.

By Paul V

Aug 31, 2018

Fast paced lecture.

By Simone C

Feb 25, 2018

I liked this course but from my point of view sometimes I found a bit tough to be confident with the concepts exposed just within the information given, those needs to be integrated by a quantity of notions from outside sources which makes the 8 weeks target not feasible. At the end of the course I have a lot of open questions about the arguments treated (which is, of course, not to be considered negative as this open questions are more deepen than what I had before) and I think to have a superficial understanding of the phenomena and concepts. Nevertheless the same title is "an Introduction" so that is the main aim of the course I think.

P.S. just for completeness of the review, I am an Electronic Engineer - master's degree

By Bill T

Sep 14, 2017

Very good overview. The equation require quite a bit more explanation and the tests really only test the concepts not the mathematics.

I recommend English subtitles for the optional lectures, which are in French.

By Freddy R L

Feb 07, 2019

A very informative and sometimes challenging course to introduce yourself to particle physics as well as some other exciting phenomena in the field of theoretical and experimal physics.

By Shiyuan W

Feb 28, 2019

A bit too quick and doesn't go into detail about all the concepts, but overall a fabulous course!

By Solomon M

Jul 08, 2017

It was almost impossibke to understand the language of the teachers because of the strong accent.

By Tarit G

Aug 05, 2018

Very fast, hard to follow the course. English pronunciation is not good.

By Orlando S F

Aug 15, 2017

I would like to express my gratitude for the excellent and delightful course on Particle Physics the University of Geneva made available to the public. It was a very informative and enjoyable course, very well designed and delivered. I also would like to congratulate Professor Pohl, Mercedes and Anna for their outstanding presentations. You enhanced my desire to continue studying Particle Physics.

Thank you again, and I wish someday I have the privilege of visiting the University as well as the LHC, and hopefully get to meet you personally. That would be a wonderful thing.

I wish you all the best.

By devnath k

Sep 06, 2019

This course opened up the horizons of my mind about how the universe functions mathematically. Coming from a very conservative, orthodox Brahmin family ( a particular caste in Hinduism ) It's written in the scriptures that the universe is created from the Atma, the higher consciousness and then from the Atma came the five elements that support life. It's very difficult to understand or even believe it because science demands proofs and right now I have none. I know I have scratched the surface, just the surface but hopefully, someday we will know the origin of everything. Thank you!

By Simon C

Apr 14, 2017

The instructors are very knowledgeable and lectures contain a lot of valuable information. I'm enjoying the mixture of basics and detail, plus the field trips to LHC and a tokamac. There's a fair amount of work required, but I appreciate that. There's also plenty of activity in the discussion forums.

I notice that some students have complained about having to pay attention to the lectures. This course is possibly not a good choice for anyone who wants to be spoon fed.