Programme And Module Handbook
Course Details in

If you find any data displayed on this website that should be amended, please contact the Curriculum Management Team.

Module Title Nuclear Physics and Neutrinos
SchoolPhysics and Astronomy
Department Physics & Astronomy
Module Code 03 17301
Module Lead Prof Freer
Level Intermediate Level
Credits 10
Semester Semester 2
Pre-requisites LI Particles and Nuclei & A Quantum Approach to Solids - (03 26017)
Restrictions None
Contact Hours Lecture-24 hours
Seminar-0 hours
Tutorial-0 hours
Project supervision-0 hours
Demonstration-0 hours
Practical Classes and workshops-0 hours
Supervised time in studio/workshop-0 hours
Fieldwork-0 hours
External Visits-0 hours
Work based learning-0 hours
Guided independent study-76 hours
Placement-0 hours
Year Abroad-0 hours

Nuclear Physics – This course provides an introduction to the topic of nuclear physics. It will explore what the mass of a nucleus reveals about the strong interaction; examine how the nuclear size and shape is measured, and the key decay mechanisms; alpha, beta and gamma decay and the associated selection rules and Q-values (energy release). The role of nuclear reactions in the synthesis of the elements will be described, including: proton burning, CNO cycle, rp-process, s-process and r-process. The process of energy generation using nuclear fusion and fission will be described together with medical applications and detection of nuclear radiation.

Neutrino Physics – The course provides an introduction to neutrino physics and related issues. It starts with a revision of the foundations of the Standard Model of particle physics (kinematics, particles and forces, conserved quantum numbers). It describes key experiments that demonstrated the existence of the three lepton generations and the finite neutrino mass. The principles and processes involved in the neutrino detection are reviewed. A number of neutrino detection techniques (including water Cherenkov, radiochemical and tracking calorimeter detectors) are discussed. The phenomenon of neutrino mixing and oscillations is introduced. Recent experiments with atmospheric, solar, accelerator and reactor neutrinos and the future developments in the field are presented.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • describe neutrino properties and interactions;
  • discuss the production and detection of atmospheric, solar, accelerator and reactor neutrinos;
  • describe neutrino detection principles and techniques involved in key experiments;
  • describe the recent neutrino experiments and their results;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the nature of the strong force and its effect on nuclear properties such as mass, and the determination of the nuclear size and shape;
  • show an understanding of the of the key decay processes (alpha, beta and gamma) and to be able to use selection rules and Q-values;
  • describe stellar nucleosythesis processes and calculate the energy production associated with reactions in tars;
  • demonstrate an understanding of energy production by fusion and fission and perform simple calculations;
  • describe the functionality of a range of radiation detectors;
  • demonstrate an awareness of a range of applications of nuclear techniques..
Assessment 17301-01 : Exam : Exam (Centrally Timetabled) - Written Unseen (80%)
17301-05 : Continuous Assessment : Coursework (20%)
Assessment Methods & Exceptions 1 x 1.5 hour exam (80%) and continuous assessment (weekly problem sheets) (20%)
Other 03 01326 LC Quarks and Leptons is strongly advised as a prerequisite.
Reading List