Instructors_Guide_Ch42 - 42 Nuclear Physics Recommended...

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42 Nuclear Physics Recommended class days: 2 Background Information Today’s students may have grown up in the nuclear age, but they know virtually nothing about nuclei or nuclear physics. Unpublished papers given at AAPT meetings have reported the following student difficulties with and beliefs about radioactivity: • No awareness of what alpha, beta, and gamma decay are. • Radioactivity is somehow due to orbital electrons. • Since half of a sample is gone after one half life, all will be gone after two half lives. • The probability of nuclear decay depends on the age of a sample. • Nuclei “disappear” after radioactive decay. Many students don’t recognize that a decaying nucleus simply becomes some other type of nucleus. • Objects become radioactive by exposure to radioactivity. • No awareness of the (admittedly confusing) distinction between radiation and ionizing radiation . In an algebra-based class, 70% of students thought that a glowing light bulb would increase the click rate of a geiger counter. These are not so much misconceptions as they are a simple lack of information. Students might have had a small exposure to nuclear physics in high-school chemistry, but for many this is their first look at the nucleus. Student Learning Objectives • To understand the size and structure of the nucleus. • To learn about the properties of the strong force. • To apply and interpret a simple shell model of the nucleus. • To understand radioactive decay and half lives. • To learn about radiation dose and biological applications of nuclear physics. Pedagogical Approach This chapter emphasizes nuclear structure and radioactive decay. Chapter 40 developed quantum physics to the point where we can now use a simple shell model to understand some of the basic properties of nuclei. The emphasis on structure and decay parallels the treatment of atomic physics in Chapter 41. Nuclear reactions are not covered, although fission was touched upon briefly in the relativity chapter (Chapter 36). Relativity is useful but not essential for this chapter. If you skipped Chapter 36, you’ll want to
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This note was uploaded on 01/14/2011 for the course CD 254 taught by Professor Kant during the Spring '10 term at Central Oregon Community College.

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Instructors_Guide_Ch42 - 42 Nuclear Physics Recommended...

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