Neutrino physics and astrophysics (theory)
Walter Winter
WS 2023/24

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This lecture is planned to be a joint teaching project with the University of Oxford, financially supported by the Oxford Berlin Research partnership.

The actual lecture and tutorials will be delivered as block courses, one week in Oxford (March 18-22, 2024) and one week in Berlin (April 8-12, 2024).
These dates have been chosen between the Hilary and Trinity terms (Oxford) and between the winter and summer terms (Berlin) to allow both parties to travel.

Students from HUB are expected to travel to Oxford and live in a college in that week, and students from Oxford are expected to travel to Berlin for one week,
we expect to be able to provide financial support for these travels (level of financial support to be decided by January 2024).

Target groups: Advanced Master and PhD students.
HUB master students who need the credit points within module P25.1.a: check requirements below.

If you are interested to join, apply until November 15th, 2023
by sending  a one-page CV, one support letter from a faculty member (can be sent directly to us), and a short motivation statement (max. 400 words, including the level of financial support needed) to

walter.winter AT and armin.reichold AT
A simplified application saying that you would like to join is sufficient if no financial support is needed.
UPDATE: Application is closed.

Furthermore, reserve these dates and prepare for having valid travel documents (you will need a valid passport!).

Admissions to be send by Nov. 24, 2023.
First meeting: November 28, 2023 at 1630pm GMT / 1730pm CET (online) - Zoom link follows per Email.
Second meeting: planned for January 17, 2024 at 1700 GMT / 1800 CET (online).

Check this webpage for updates.

Tentative block program for each of the two weeks (subject to change)

Lecture Lecture Lecture
Lecture Lecture Lecture Lecture Lecture
Lunch break
Lunch break Lunch break Lunch break Lunch break
Student talks
Invited topical talks
Student talks
Invited topical talks
Group work
Student talks
Group work
(return travel)
Group work
Group work
Excursion/social Group work discussion

Welcome event/pub visit

Common dinner

E-mail me us if you need more information
(E-mail: walter.winter AT, contact in Oxford: armin.reichold AT

Proposed contents (subject to adjustments):

Part I - as block course in Oxford (March 18-22, 2024)

1)    Neutrino oscillations (theory)
a)    Neutrino oscillations in vacuum
i) Standard derivation of oscillation formula (for arbitrary number of flavours)
ii) Two-flavour limit
iii) Standard three-flavour neutrino oscillations
iv) Simplified three-flavour picture, decoupling limits (solar, atmospheric, reactor)
v)  The hunt for CP violation
vi) Sterile neutrinos
vii) Limitations of standard approach
b)     Neutrino oscillations in matter
i) Hamiltonian in flavour space
ii) Two flavours, constant matter density
iii) Varying matter density (MSW effect), application to Sun
iv) Matter density profiles with jumps (e.g. Earth, supernovae)

2)    Origin of neutrino masses and mixings
a)    Fermion masses in the Standard Model - a recap
i) How do mass terms look like (in the equations of motion)?
ii) Mass terms in the Lagrangian
iii) Mass generation through spontaneous symmetry breaking
iv) Fermion masses in the SM
b)    Massive neutrinos
i) Are neutrino masses physics BSM?
ii) Role of Majorana mass terms
iii) The seesaw mechanism
iv) Origin of lepton mixings and UPMNS
v) Origin of structure/flavour symmetries
vi) Neutrino mass from SM effective field theory
vii) Origin of leptonic CP violation?
c)    Neutrinoless double beta decay
i) Motivation
ii) Phenomenology
iii) Comparison of absolute mass measurement observables
iv) Theoretical interpretation of neutrinoless double beta decay
d)    Principles of baryogenesis/leptogenesis
i) Motivation
ii) Sakharov conditions
iii) Sphaleron processes, leptogenesis
iv) Thermal leptogenesis
v) Alternative mechanisms
Part II - Berlin (April 8-12, 2024)

3)    Neutrinos from astrophysical accelerators - multi-messenger astrophysics
a)    General overview: Cosmic-ray and neutrino sources
i) Particle acceleration
ii) Astrophysical environments
iii) A toy model for a neutrino-cosmic-ray-source
b)    Description of the radiation zone
i) Kinetic equations
ii) Steady state, general solution
iii) Examples/applications
(1)    Particle leaves region (escapes)
(2)    Origin of spectral breaks
(3)    Cooling of secondaries (muons, pions, kaons) leading to neutrino production
c)    Particle interactions in hadronic sources
i) Generic framework
ii) Weak decays
iii) pp interactions
iv)  Photohadronic interactions (p-gamma/A-gamma)
v) Simplified pgamma interactions
vi) Multi-messenger relationships
vii) Optically thick case
d)    Gamma-ray bursts as astrophysical test case
i) Internal shock model
ii) Geometry estimators, radiation density
iii) Pion production efficiency
iv) From shock rest frame to the observer’s frame

Credit point requirements - needed for Master students:

Participation in tutorials/home work assignments (50% of points required).
Reading assignment, presented in a short talk.
Oral examination: Possible (extraordinary) exam dates are 23.04.2024 and 23.05.2024. You need to register via AGNES between 26.02.2024 and 17.03.2024 (deadline) for any of them. This may sound early, but cancellation is possible until 16.04.2024 (1st exam date) and 16.05.2024 (2nd exam date).


M. S. Athar, ..., W. Winter, et al, Status and perspectives of neutrino physics, Prog. Part. Nucl. Phys. 124 (2022) 103947
Carlo Giunti and Chung Kim. Fundamental of neutrino physics and astrophysics. Oxford
Martin Pohl. Einführung in die Hochenergieastrophysik. Shaker
Gaisser, Engel and Resconi. Cosmic rays and particle physics. Cambridge
Malcolm Longair. High-energy astrophysics, vol. 1 (particles, photons and their detection). Cambdrige
Walter Winter. Neutrinos from Cosmic Accelerators including Magnetic Field and Flavor Effects, Adv. High Energy Phys. (2012) 586413

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