Programme And Module Handbook
Course Details in 2019/20 Session

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Module Title Nuclear Physics
SchoolPhysics and Astronomy
Department Physics & Astronomy
Module Code 03 21462
Module Lead Dr Wheldon
Level Honours Level
Credits 10
Semester Semester 2
Pre-requisites Nuclear Physics and Neutrinos - (03 17301) Quantum Mechanics 2 - (03 17273)
Restrictions Either this module or 03 01087 LM Nuclear Physics may be chosen, but not both
Contact Hours Guided independent study-76 hours
Tutorial-4 hours
Lecture-20 hours
Total: 100 hours

The nucleus is a collection of neutrons and protons, what else is there to know? Well, perhaps surprisingly, we still do not have a detailed description of the force that binds the nucleus, and we still don't know how the nature and properties of the quarks and gluons within the nucleons influence their interactions. Fundamental questions you might think, and indeed this remains one of the major areas of research in Nuclear Physics. In this module you will discover what we do know about the details of the nuclear force, the strong interaction, and the models which presently employ this force to calculate the properties of light nuclei. This approach cannot yet be extended to heavier nuclei and mean-field theories are required, a particular focus will be the nuclear shell model; the evidence for nuclear shells and the predictive capability of the shell model. The module will use the vehicle of three classes of decay to examine the theory and experimental manifestations of the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces within the nucleus, namely alpha, beta and gamma decay. These processes will also be used to illustrate present areas of contemporary nuclear physics research.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Have a good knowledge of the nature of the nucleon-nucleon interaction;
  • Explain the nature of the binding energy of the nucleus;
  • Develop some simple scattering theory to describe the nucleon nucleon interaction with the aim of extracting the nucleon-nucleon potential; 
  • Have a rigorous knowledge of the nuclear shell model;
  • Discuss the evidence for the shell model, the properties of the single particle levels and the couplings of particles in these orbits, magnetic moments; additionally, make predictions for ground and excited states of nuclei;
  • Calculate the alpha-decay properties of nuclei for L=0 decay;
  • Reproduce the Fermi theory of beta decay;
  • Explain the difference between Fermi and Gamow-Teller decays, allowed and forbidden decays and apply this knowledge to specific systems;
  • Explain the role of the electromagnetic force in the nucleus and have a working knowledge of the selection rules of electromagnetic decay;
  • Describe the process of internal conversion, and the use of conversion coefficients for the calculation of transition multipolarities;
  • Develop an understanding of current nuclear physics research topics.
Assessment 21462-01 : Exam : Exam (Centrally Timetabled) - Written Seen (100%)
Assessment Methods & Exceptions 2 hr examination
Other None
Reading List