I'd want to know the basic rules to apply the conservation laws in nuclear reactions (nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, radioactive decays, etc.) to determine parity and angular momentum of the products. I know that these principles lay deep in quantum mechanics, but I don't need a very thorough explanation, just the rules. I have searched the Internet a lot but I didn't find simple and clear information. I know that this question would probably require a quite long answer, so if you'd post just a exhaustive link about this it would be enough. Thank you


Well you'll have the typical conservation laws:

  • Conservation of mass-energy
  • Conservation of momentum
  • Conservation of (generalized) angular momentum
  • Conservation of electric charge

And some more particle-specific:

  • Conservation of lepton number
  • Conservation of baryon number
  • Conservation of flavour (note that anti-particles have opposit flavour)

For the more advanced conservationlaws (lepton number, baryon number, ...) you'll actually need to learn about quantum field theory (QFT), and especially about quantum chromodynamics (QCD).

Now studying this material takes a bit of time and effort. Now if you'd like to go into particle physics without going into the whole mathematical scheme behind QFT, then I'd recommend skimming trough "Introduction to High Energy Physics" ~ Donald H. Perkins which provides an excellent overview and is apperantely downloadable over here (on ArXiV.org itself). This course I have taken in my third year of physics after 2 courses of quantum mechanics (non-relativistic) and one introductary course of particle physics (more about the zoölogy of particles and relativity).

If you want to go straight to making models of atomic nulcei and radioactive decay/reactions, then "An Introduction to Nuclear Physics" ~ Cottingham & Greenwood is quite a good read.

The following 6 links are 6 pages of a pdf we got during an exercise-session to summarize the rules for particle interactions.

Page 1 of the pdf

Page 2 of the pdf

Page 3 of the pdf

Page 4 of the pdf

Page 5 of the pdf

Page 6 of the pdf

  • $\begingroup$ @Stanley I made an edit ;) $\endgroup$ – Nick Sep 11 '13 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Stanley I would discourage posting your full email address online, if only to avoid receiving a lot of spam. I recommend deleting your comment as Nick has now provided links in his answer anyway. $\endgroup$ – Wouter Sep 11 '13 at 22:30
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    $\begingroup$ You might want to clarify that conservation of energy really means conservation of mass-energy. Parity is conserved by the strong force, so, e.g., we can level nuclear states by their spin and parity: $2^+$, $1^-$, etc. $\endgroup$ – user4552 Sep 12 '13 at 0:38

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