Nuclear physics is the study of the composition, behavior and interaction of atomic nuclei and their constituent parts.

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The vacuum as trigger

Do the apperance in the atomic nucleus of virtual matter-antimatter particle pairs play a role in the random nature of radioactive decay?
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Why do electrons occupy the space around nuclei, and not collide with them?

We all learn in grade school that electrons are negatively-charged particles that inhabit the space around the nucleus of an atom, that protons are positively-charged and are embedded within the ...
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$\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}$ (|Independent particle Model⟩+ |Strong Interaction Model⟩)?

What is an adequate way to understand this simultaneously. One has the underlying assumption that matter is saturated and has the merit of being able to come up with an accurate formula for the ...
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517 views

Matter-antimatter annihilation

What happens if different size atoms meet? We've just created anti-helium, I think. What if one atom of anti-helium collided with one atom of iron. Would some of the iron be left over as a new ...
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418 views

Electrical neutrality of atoms

How is it that atoms with equal numbers of protons and electrons are described as "electrically neutral" when the proton is 1,800 times more massive than the electron?
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Having the same number of neutrons

Sorry if this is a silly question. If I understand correctly, for two atoms "having the same number of protons" is equivalent to "being of the same element", while "having the same number of protons ...
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How often does nuclear fusion occur within the human body?

I'm just curious. I figure atoms fuse occasionally just by chance, like quantum tunneling or rogue waves. Is this true? If so, any idea how often?
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Strongest force in nature

Possible Duplicate: What does it mean to say “Gravity is the weakest of the forces”? It is said nuclear force is the strongest force in nature.. But it is not true near a black ...
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185 views

Radioactive nuclear fuel?

I suppose this is a not-too-bright question but, in a nutshell: why are nuclear fuels radioactive? With this I mean, which is the connection between being a fissile (or fertile, for that matter) ...
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227 views

Combining chemical elements

Prof Brian Cox mentioned on Wonders of the Universe when discussing chemical elements that Carbon 12 consists of 6 protons and 6 neutrons, he also mentioned that Helium consists of 2 protons and 2 ...
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962 views

What is the required thickness of concrete needed to entomb a leaking reactors emissions?

What is the minimum thickness of an aggregate concrete membrane to prevent radioactive particles from escaping a broken reactor? I am interested in calculating the amount of concrete required to ...
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2answers
542 views

Iodine isotope question

Quick question for the nuclear engineers/physicists out there Where does I-134 come from? I cant find it in any of the charts of standard decay products of Uranium fission, but there is tons of the ...
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How do we know that some radioactive materials have a half life of millions or even billions of years?

If a radioactive material takes a very long time to decay, how is its half life measured or calculated? Do we have to actually observe the radioactive material for a very long time to extrapolate its ...
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126 views

Detailed logical steps to show experimentally that radioactivity ionizes air?

Suppose one knows almost nothing about the nature of radioactivity (like the discoverers of this phenomenon). What are the detailed/rigorous logical steps/arguments to show experimentally that ...
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276 views

$\alpha$ and $\beta$-decay, why don't they neutralize each other?

$\alpha$ radiation consist of positive charged helium nuclei, $\beta$ radiation of negative charged electrons. So why don't the $\alpha$ particles take those electrons to get neutral?
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203 views

Nomenclature of hadronic resonances

I have the Particles Physics Booklet and I noticed that the resonances that decay into a nucleon and pion are indicated by an abbreviation. For example $P_{33}$ is associated to the $\Delta (1232)$ ...
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3answers
5k views

Why build nuclear reactors on shorelines?

While not directly a physics question, I can't think of forum better capable of answering my question. In discussions over Japan's nuclear reactor situation the observation was made that reactors ...
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308 views

References on the non-compositeness of the known elementary particles

What paper(s) or theory(s) describe or prove that the elementary particles that we have determined today cannot be made up of smaller more fundamental particles?
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243 views

PNMR, Pulsed Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Experiment

I am writing a lab report for class on PNMR experiment that we did. How come in this experiment we don't worry about the electron spins in our sample? Aren't the electrons affected by the PNMR machine ...
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Why does nuclear fuel not form a critical mass in the course of a meltdown?

A BWR reactor core may contain up to 146 tons of uranium. Why does it not form a critical mass when molten? Are there any estimates of the critical mass of the resulting zirconium alloy, steel, ...
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Origin of elements heavier than Iron (Fe)

In all the discussions about how the heavy elements in the universe are forged in the guts of stars and especially during a stars death, I usually hear that once the star begins fusing lighter atoms ...
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880 views

Conceptual problems in nuclear physics for students?

Is there any good reference for conceptual problems for students which learn nuclear physics first time? I am not searching problems that involve difficult calculations. Quite the converse, they ...
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529 views

If there is a meltdown at the Fukushima reactors, would the control rods melt also?

According to the reports, the shutdown procedures at all the Fukushima reactors were successful, and all the control rods were fully inserted. So - if there was a meltdown, would the control rods ...
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251 views

Ratio of radiation sources in the uranium cycle

Sorry, I know y'all are probably getting a lot of questions re: Fukushima, but I had a very specific one and no-one has been able to answer it. I am specialised in medical radiation, and have been ...
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395 views

How much radiation exposure in the US was caused by the 105 nuke tests in the Pacific?

Between 1947 and 1962 the US conducted 105 tests of nuclear weapons in the "Pacific Proving Grounds". I'm wondering how much radiation exposure resulted on the west coast of the US. These were part of ...
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Are there notable cases of anomalies in the mass-decay rate relationship?

As a general rule of thumb, massive particles (both composite and fundamental) tend to decay rapidly through the weak force, while less massive particles tend to be more stable. Hence, taus are ...
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Long time deviations from exponential decay in radioactivity

Are there any examples of common substances whose decay is not exponential? We're used to thinking about radioactivity in terms of half-lives. This is a concept that makes sense only for a decay that ...
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Can the earth's magnetic field be generated by heat from a natural nuclear reactor?

I've come upon Dr. J. Marvin Herndon's theory that the earth's magnetic field is generated by a hot nuclear reactor operating in the center of the earth. This is backed by various papers, some of them ...
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Can a nuclear reactor meltdown be contained with molten lead?

If lead can absorb or block radiation, would it be possible to pump molten lead into a reactor core which is melting, so that it would eventually cool and contain the radiation? Is there something ...
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1answer
258 views

Why does Fukushima pressure rise? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why didn't the control rods in Fukushima shut down the reactor? They say that pressure rises and that this can be dangerous. But why does this happen if the reactor ...
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1answer
653 views

What is the influence of the nuclear leakage in Japan

The recent news says that Japanese authorities confirmed Saturday that radiation had leaked from a quake-hit nuclear plant after an explosion destroyed a building at the site. What will be the ...
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454 views

How much energy can be extracted from hydrogen?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-L says that the difference between baryon number and lepton number is conserved. Ordinary hydrogen has one of each, but turning it into helium releases only the binding ...
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Where does the energy from a nuclear bomb come from?

I'll break this down to two related questions: With a fission bomb, Uranium or Plutonium atoms are split by a high energy neutron, thus releasing energy (and more neutrons). Where does the energy ...
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How do alpha and beta particles ionise surrounding particles?

I've been wondering about this question for a while. If you have alpha and beta particles released from a radioactive core, how do they ionise surrounding particles?
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Why must the deuteron wavefunction be antisymmetric?

Wikipedia article on deuterium says this: The deuteron wavefunction must be antisymmetric if the isospin representation is used (since a proton and a neutron are not identical particles, ...
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Why doesn't orbital electron fall into the nucleus of Rb85, but falls into the nucleus of Rb83?

Rb83 is unstable and decays to Kr-83. Mode of the decay is electron capture. Rb85 is stable. The nuclei Rb83 and Rb85 have the same charge. Rb85 is heavier than Rb85, but gravitation is too weak to ...
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Age of the Earth and the star that preceded the Sun

One of the great unheralded advances made in the history of science was the ability to determine the age of Earth based on the decay of isotopic uranium. Based on the apparent abundance of uranium in ...
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How many times has the “stuff” in our solar system been recycled from previous stars?

Is there a cosmologist in the house? I've got a basic understanding (with some degree of error) of some simple facts: The Universe is a little over 13 billion years old. Our galaxy is almost that ...
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Cherenkov radiation in nuclear bomb

Would Cherenkov radiation occur at the explosion of a nuclear bomb? Suppose it would not be occluded by smoke or anything else for that matter.
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Is there any thing other than time that “triggers” a radioactive atom to decay?

Say you have a vial of tritium and monitor their atomic decay with a geiger counter. How does an atom "know" when it's time to decay? It seems odd that all the tritium atoms are identical except with ...
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299 views

Weak contribution to nuclear binding

Does the weak nuclear force play a role (positive or negative) in nuclear binding? Normally you only see discussions about weak decay and flavour changing physics, but is there a contribution to ...
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1k views

What does a nucleus look like?

It's a Christmas time and so I hope I'll be pardoned for asking a question which probably doesn't make much sense :-) In standard undergraduate nuclear physics course one learns about models such as ...
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Fermi's Golden Rule

It is well known that to calculate the probability of transition in the scattering processes, as a first approximation, we use the Fermi golden rule. This rule is obtained considering the initial ...
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258 views

Isotope properties plotting tool?

I'm looking for something that will generate scatter plots comparing different properties of isotopes. Ideally I'd like some web page that lets me select axis and click go but a CSV file with lost of ...
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Turned to steel in the great magnetic field

This is obviously a "fun" question, but I'm sure it still has valid physics in it, so bear with me. How great of a magnetic field would you need to transmute other elements into iron/nickel, if ...
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Is it possible to obtain gold through nuclear decay?

Is there a series of transmutations through nuclear decay that will result in the stable gold isotope ${}^{197}\mathrm{Au}$ ? How long will the process take?
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Why some nuclei with “magic” numbers of neutrons have a half-life less than their neighbor isotopes?

It's easy to find the "magic" numbers of neutrons on the diagrams of alpha-decay energy: 82, 126, 152, 162. Such "magic" nuclei should be more stable than their neighbors. But why some nuclei ...
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Why is the nucleus of an Iron atom so stable?

Lighter nuclei liberate energy when undergoing fusion, heavier nuclei when undergoing fission. What is it about the nucleus of an Iron atom that makes it so stable? Alternatively: Iron has the ...
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Can Jupiter be ignited?

Our solar system itself contains two candidate "Earths" One is Jupiter's moon Europa and another is Saturn's moon Titan. Both of them have the problem of having at low temperature as Sun's heat ...
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How does Positronium exist?

I've just recently heard of Positronium, an "element" with interesting properties formed by an electron and positron, and I was shocked to hear that physicists were actually working with this element, ...