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

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Why do we use only nonrelativistic equations in nuclear physics?

What is limit between relativistic and non-relativistic equations? Which conditions do we have to use one of these?
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134 views

Computer parsable table of nuclides

I am looking for an computer parsable (CSV, XML, JSON, since I didn't find anything, I am happy with almost everything) file (or collection of files) that contains the information you can find in a ...
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1answer
134 views

A naive look at the band of stability suggests a stable isotope of every element. Why is this intuition false?

Looking at the band of stability, my first intuition is to conclude (erroneously) that there is a stable isotope of every element that lies close to the belt of stability. Why is this false? (For ...
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318 views

nuclear fission and half life

Why is the alpha, beta or gamma decay of an unstable nucleus unaffected by the chemical situation of an atom, such as the nature of the molecule or solid in which it is bound? The chemical situation ...
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1answer
226 views

Why are there photographs of nuclear tests?

I was looking at old photographs of the nuclear tests on the bikini atoll. It dawned on me that you don't want to run film through airport x-rays, as it exposes the film. I've been told that a ...
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511 views

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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198 views

Why 3He(n,p)3H nuclear reaction proceeds but 3He(n,gamma)4He heavily suppressed?

The neutron capture reaction 3He(n,p)3H is very useful for neutron detection as the Q value of ~700keV is converted to kinetic energies in the produced p and 3H. These charged products can then ionize ...
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3answers
101 views

Do nuclear reaction cross sections depend on the angle between incident beam and target-crystal?

Shouldn't the absorption rate of a beam of particles strongly depend on the angle between the beam and the target material's crystal-axis (if the target material is a monocrystal)? At certain angles, ...
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1answer
80 views

$\alpha$ decay to more than one nuclear state

I do not understand how $\alpha$ decay can be a probabilistic process such that there are multiple products from the decay. For example: $^{241}\mathrm{Cm}$ decays to the excited states of ...
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519 views

Americium battery

I was curious about a radioactive decay battery. My thought was to place an americium source from a smoke detector in a vacuum sealed borosilicate glass vessel. The Americium source would be "aimed" ...
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1answer
53 views

PP Chain and CNO cycle relationship

At what temperature would the energy generation rates of the PP-Chain and CNO cycles be roughly equivalent? The dependences are so vastly different that I am wondering how and by what equations they ...
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89 views

Is an atom charged after undergoing beta emission?

After beta emission, an atom's mass number remains the same while the number of protons increases by one. As far as I know, the beta particle (electron) is too energetic to be recaptured. If this is ...
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236 views

What does the Coulomb barrier really mean?

I realize I'm trying to get a simple answer on a complicated subject, but here goes anyway. I've done some research and I understand (well, mostly) about how Vc is the amount of energy required to get ...
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861 views

Why are synthetic elements unstable?

So far 20 synthetic elements have been synthesized. All are unstable, decaying with half-lives between years and milliseconds. Why is that?
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565 views

What is an intuitive picture of the motion of nucleons?

I understand the "motion" of electrons within an ordinary atom (say argon at room temperature and pressure). They are moving in "orbits" defined by quantum mechanical wavefunctions where the "orbits" ...
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1answer
972 views

Relationship between nuclear spin and nuclear magnetic moment?

We know that nuclear magnetic moment can be expressed in terms of the expected value for nuclear spin as: $$\langle\mu\rangle =[g_lj+(g_s-g_l)\langle s_z\rangle]\frac{\mu_N}{\hbar}$$ (Cf. Krane), ...
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1answer
257 views

How was Be-8's Half-Life of 7E-17 Second Determined?

Radionuclides occur with half-lives in a vast range of over 37 magnitudes as listed in this site. In question 7584, Lubos Motl explained how Gyr half-lives were determined. This method doesn't appear ...
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571 views

If we assume that protons don't decay, then will all matter ultimately decay into Iron-56 or into nickel-62?

Wikipedia says that all matter should decay into iron-56. But it also says Nickel-62 is the most stable nucleus. So could this mean that in the far future, everything could (through quantum ...
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86 views

How do scientists estimate elemental-abundance in the universe?

I understand how cosmological observations can estimate the amount of 'baryonic matter' in the universe, but what I don't understand is how scientists can estimate the abundance of a particular ...
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117 views

Nuclear fusion and the Sun [closed]

I am working on a science project on the Sun. I have found that in order for nuclear fusion to work, it needs both helium 3 and 4. Why can't nuclear fusion be done with just helium 4? How can we ...
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40 views

Lifetime of undiscovered element and its calculation

Reading about nuclear models, nuclear physics and the mythical ``stability island'' I just wondered about the next question: How can the lifetime of any undiscovered superheavy element be calculated ...
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1answer
266 views

Problem with shell model and magnetic moment of Lithium-6

I have a problem with the calculus of magnetic moment of Li-6. The configuration of protons is $1p_{3/2}$, and the neutrons' one is the same. I have to add the magnetic moment of uncoupled proton ...
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2answers
3k views

In nuclear fusion reaction, what is the percentage of mass converted to energy?

I read somewhere that it is about one percent of the mass, but I find this too high. Also I have done some calculations, for example, the Tsar Bomba was 50 MT bomb and weighed about 27 tons. Although ...
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203 views

Gaseous fission: Has it even been demonstrated experimentally?

I've been reading quite a bit about gas-core reactors, a theoretical reactor design where the fissioning of Uranium(along with Plutonium & possibly Thorium)occurs in gas phase. The result is that ...
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230 views

Why is a pion so light compared to a neutron or proton?

A pion is made out of a pair of up and/or down quarks. A neutron or proton is three up or down quarks. So naively I'd expect a pion to be about 2/3 the mass of a nucleon. In fact it's less than 1/6 ...
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181 views

How do we know that internal conversion creates no intermediate photon?

I've read, from several sources, that in internal conversion -- an excited electron transferring its energy to another electron which is then emitted -- no intermediate gamma radiation is produced. ...
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58 views

Are there any established theories as to why dubnium-268 and 270 have such high stability for a trans-actinide?

Dubnium-268 has a half life of 29h and 270, 23.15h. I know of the island of stability but if dubnium is in it, the island is very small as only rutherfordium has isotopes that approach the same ...
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190 views

$\require{mhchem}$ $\ce{\beta^{+}}$ decay for $\ce{_9^18F}$, computing $\Delta m$

For the decay: $$\require{mhchem}\ce{_9^18F\to_8^18O +e+ +{v}}$$ To compute $E$, I need $\Delta m$, the provided answer looks like: $$m_i = 18.000938~u$$ $$m_f = 17.999159~u + 2~(5.49 \times ...
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186 views

Helium Fusion and the Origin of Elements

In the fifth of his Messenger Lectures Feynman mentions the fact that Carbon-12 has an energy level at 7.82 MeV. He then states that this is what enables the fusion of three Helium-4 ions into Carbon ...
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39 views

Gamow peak and nuclear reaction rate

It's known that the nuclear reaction rate (inside a Star) can be determined with $$R_{ab}=n_a n_b\left<\sigma v\right> \, \approx \, n_a n_b \Big(\frac{8}{\pi m_e}\Big)^{1/2} ...
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74 views

Why does strong interaction increase with distance?

I read numerous times that strong interaction increases with distance. But how can one actually derive the force-distance relation from the lagrangian (quark field + gluon field + gauge coupling)? ...
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148 views

Is there a difference between “two photon absorption” and “double quantum transitions”?

Wikipedia has articles on two photon absorption. And a lot of NMR literature refers to double quantum transitions. But is there a difference? As far as I can tell, a double quantum transition is has ...
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Strong force, where is the seperation?

In class I got given a diagram like this: (albeit without the Electrostatic force line) However the teacher told us the nucleons are typically separated when the force is zero. So as the string ...
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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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590 views

Is Uranium renewable, or will this science fiction scenario become reality?

In my imagination, nuclear power could disapear when we use up all the uranium generating electricity, or exploding nuclear bombs. Is uranium a renewable resourse? if not, can we prove that this ...
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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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558 views

Russian Doll Teller Ulam?

Can you trigger a thermonuclear explosion from a smaller thermonuclear explosion in a scaling way, so that starting from a small laser ignited fusion within a small fissile container, using the X-rays ...
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595 views

Can I move the atom nucleus only?

I was wondering if it is possible to move the atom nucleus and leave behind the electrons? I can imagine that the electrons will follow the nucleus. But what if the speed of the nucleus is almost the ...
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43 views

What is nuclide notation referring to? Only the nucleus or the whole atom?

sorry that this is an easy question but I am just a bit confused about nuclide notation. When you say e.g. $^{240}_{94}\text{Pu}$, are you referring to the atom of $\text{Pu}$ or only its nucleus? It ...
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961 views

Atomic nucleus consisting of only neutrons?

Is it true that the nucleus of all atoms (including radioactive isotopes) contain at least one proton? Is there an atomic nucleus consisting entirely of neutrons? (Let's exclude neutron stars for the ...
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2k views

What is the shielding in nuclear reactors mainly against?

I have a little knowledge about ionizing radiation and I have been confused over why nuclear reactors need these massive shields. So, if I am not mistaken, Alpha and Beta radiation are not that ...
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350 views

Is it possible that nuclear fission contributes to climate change?

This is probably a really stupid question, please forgive me. Is it possible that the use of nuclear fission on earth contributes to the increased energy in the Earth's system as according with the ...
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1answer
814 views

Question about a nuclear bomb test photo

What are those white lines connecting the ground to the sky on the left side of this photo? I've see these before in the nuclear bomb test films too. They're apparently already in place upon ...
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237 views

Evidence that nuclei contain neutrons and protons (other than nucleons appearing if a nucleus is smashed)?

This may seem like a silly question, but I believe this to be very fundamental because the Standard Model of particle physics seems based on the axiom or assumption that neutrons and protons exist ...
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700 views

Does the Nuclear reaction happen inside the fuel rods?

I've been reading up on nuclear reactors, and understand explanations of how it works, how water is heated to steam, which turns the turbines, etc.. I understand all of the safety features, and how ...
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1answer
4k views

Kinetic energy of alpha-particle in $^{212}$Po decay

Admittedly, Nuclear Physics is not my strength. I'm writing a simulation to model alpha-decay. So far, I have looked up the values of the kinetic energy of the alpha particles that are emitted in a ...
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3k views

Einstein's mass-energy relation

Suppose we have 1 kg of wood and 1 kg of uranium and if we need to find out how much energy would each of the substance give, we'd have to use Einstein's mass-energy relation as follows: In the case ...
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998 views

Nuclear reactor control rods

What is the relation between control rods surface exposed into a nuclear reactor and neutron energy? Is it linear? I mean, how do neutron absorbing rate change with the progressive immersion of ...
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7k views

Conversion of mass to energy in chemical/nuclear reactions

Is mass converted into energy in exothermic chemical / nuclear reactions? My (A Level) knowledge of chemistry suggests that this isn't the case. In a simple burning reaction, e.g. $C+O_2\to ...
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Theoretical Stability of “AB-matter”

Alexander Bolonkin has proposed the possibility of manipulating nucleons to produce stable, macroscopic structures of nuclear matter at zero pressure (which he calls "AB-matter"), by analogy with the ...