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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Nuclear Physics (PHYS11041)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaUndergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) Other subject areaNone
Course website Course material will be made available in Learn Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe course will build on the Subatomic Physics course by further exploring the fundamentals of nuclear matter as well as considering some of the most important applications of nuclear physics. Topics to be studied will include decay modes, nuclear reactions, and nuclear astrophysics. The lecture course will be integrated with problem solving classes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed ( Atomic and Molecular Physics (PHYS10026) OR Quantum Physics (PHYS10043)) AND Subatomic Physics (PHYS10082)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements At least 80 credit points accrued in courses of SCQF Level 9 or 10 drawn from Schedule Q.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2014/15 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Class Delivery Information Workshop/tutorial sessions, as arranged.
Course Start Date 12/01/2015
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 22, Formative Assessment Hours 10, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 42 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Nuclear Physics2:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

1)identify basic nuclear properties and outline their theoretical descriptions
2)understand the differences between various decay modes, state selection rules, and determine wether a given decay can take place
3)calculate Q-values for alpha and beta decays and for nuclear reactions
4)apply conservation laws to nuclear reactions and transform quantities between laboratory and centre-of-mass frames
5)compare and constrast different reaction mechanisms in relation to cross-sections, excitation functions, and angular distributions
6)summarise and account for the main aspects of at least one application of nuclear physics (e.g. Nuclear Astrophysics)
7)manage to solve problems similar to those discussed in the afternoon sessions
8)develop critical thinking and independent learning, work effectively within a team
9)produce clear and informative written and oral presentations
10)develop judgement capabilities through assessment of their own work and that of others
Assessment Information
Degree Examination, 100%
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Alpha decay:
Energetics. Tunneling effect and probability. Geiger-Nuttall plot. Transition rates and selection rules.

Beta decay:
Electron and positron spectra. (Neutrino mass). Kurie plot. Fermi theory of beta decay. Fermi and Gamow-Teller interactions. Transition rates and selection rules. Electron capture. Neutrinos. Parity violation in beta decay.

Gamma decay:
Energetics. Weisskopf units. Transition rates and selection rules. Angular distribution measurements. Internal conversion.

Nuclear reactions:
Nomenclature and general features. Conservation laws. Reference frames and transformation laws. Cross section. Energy spectra. Angular distributions. Elastic scattering. Direct reactions. Compound nucleus reactions. (Heavy-ion reactions).

Nuclear astrophysics:
General features of the universe. Abundance curve. HR diagram. Principles of star formation and evolution. Energy production and nucleosynthesis. Reaction rates. Gamow peak. Astrophysical S-factor.
Solar reactions and solar neutrinos.
Hydrogen burning. Proton-proton chain. CNO cycles.
Helium burning. Three-alpha process. 12C(,)16O reaction.
Advanced and explosive burning stages. Cataclysmic and catastrophic scenarios. Nucleosynthesis beyond iron. Neutron captures: s- and r-processes
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Course material will be made available in Learn
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserDr Marialuisa Aliotta
Tel: (0131 6)50 5288
Course secretaryMiss Paula Wilkie
Tel: (0131) 668 8403
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