Particles and Nuclei: Introduces the fundamental (as we understand them) constituents of matter and the forces through which they interact. The conservation laws which constrain which reactions are possible are discussed. The experimental evidence leading to and supporting the theories will be discussed. Natural units are explained, and relativistic invariance used to study reaction kinematics. Nuclear binding energies and masses, and the properties of the forces, are used to explain nuclear decays, fission and fusion.

Nuclear Physics – 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.

Learning Outcomes

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

Describe the Standard Model of particle physics, the quark model of hadrons, and explain how the properties of the forces are related to those of the vector bosons;

Apply conservation laws to particle interactions and perform calculations using relativistic kinematics to evaluate energies, momenta and masses;

Describe nuclear stability and reactions in terms of binding energy and apply selection rules to radioactive decays;

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 nucleosynthesis processes and calculate the energy production associated with reactions in stars;

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.;