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Course content

FYS9530 Subatomic Physics: Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collision Theory is devoted to the theory of high-energy collisions between nuclei and phase transitions in nuclear matter. The curriculum is specially adopted for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, because three LHC experiments, ALICE, ATLAS and CMS, will study both high-energy particle physics and relativistic heavy-ion physics. The course consists of a basic part and detailed subjects on request.

The basic units are:

  • Phenomenology of relativistic heavy-ion collisions
  • Quantum Chromodynamics, phase diagram and the equation of state of nuclear matter under extreme conditions
  • Model descriptions of relativistic nucleon-nucleon and heavy-ion collisions: Hydrodynamics, Glauber model, Dual Parton Model and other selected models, and model predictions to be tested at the Large Hadron Collider.

Two other units should be chosen among the following topics:

Signatures of new phenomena in relativistic heavy-ion collisions:

  • Jet production and jet quenching
  • Anisotropic flow
  • Photon and di-lepton production
  • Heavy quarkonia production
  • Femtoscopy and two-particle correlations
  • Strangeness and the thermal statistical model
  • Color Glass Condensate and glasma
  • Chiral symmetry restoration and masses of resonances
  • Neutron stars and exotic phases at extreme baryon densities

Learning outcome

After the course students should have knowledge about:

  • Big Bang in early universe and mini Big Bang at LHC at CERN
  • New states of matter produced in high-energy nucleus-nucleus collisions, like Quark Gluon Plasma and color glass condensate
  • Phase transitions in dense and hot nuclear matter and their signatures
  • The basics of Quantum Chromodynamics
  • Different models of relativistic hadron-hadron and heavy-ion collisions
  • Predictions of these models for LHC at CERN


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.


Formal prerequisite knowledge


Recommended previous knowledge

FYS3110 – Quantum mechanics and FYS3510 – Subatomic physics with applications in astrophysics (discontinued)

Overlapping courses

10 credits with FYS4530 – Subatomic Many-Body Theory II


The course extends over a full semester with 3 hours of lectures and 2 hours of problem solving per week. There will also be a project.


Written exam after each completed unit. One project report. Final oral exam.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring

If the course is offered, a minimum of four students is required for ordinary lectures to take place. If less than four students participate, an exam will be given, but one should not expect ordinary teaching


Every spring

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)