Introduction to Nuclear Physics
Department of Physics 46301, 56301 : Spring 2002

Instructor: Dr. Michael Pichowsky
Office: 209 Smith Hall, Department of Physics.
Phone : 330-672-2596
Class hours: 202 Smith Hall, Department of Physics
MWF: 9:55 -- 10:45 am.
Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10-11am
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9:25 - 9:55am
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 11:00-11:30am
Text: Introduction to Nuclear Physics, W.N. Cottingham, D.A. Greenwood.
Optional Texts: Introductory Nuclear Physics, K.S. Krane;
Nuclear and Particle Physics, R.J. Blin-Stoyle.
Prerequisites: Modern Physics (Phys 36001) and
Analytic Geometry and Calculus (Math 22005)
Homework: 20% due on Friday
Exam I: 25% in class, Friday February 15
Exam II: 25% in class, Friday March 22
Final Exam: 30% 10:15am, Wednesday May 8
Class Homepage:
Homepage is updated regularly during semester.
Course Homework
Set Due Date Assignment
1 24 Jan 2002 Homework #1: Einstein energy E (pdf).
2 01 Feb 2002 Homework #2: Rutherford scattering (pdf).
3 08 Feb 2002 Homework #3: Form factors and charge distributions (pdf).
4 22 Feb 2002 Homework #4: Radioactive decays and daughters (pdf).
5 01 Mar 2002 Homework #5: Unstable daughters and natural series (pdf).
6 15 Mar 2002 Homework #6: Nuclear binding and valley of stability (pdf).
7 12 Apr 2002 Homework #7: Review of groups and Dirac notation (pdf).
8 19 Apr 2002 Homework #8: Wigner-D matrices and unitary transformations (pdf).
9 26 Apr 2002 Homework #9: Clebsch-Gordans, spin and isospin in N* decays (pdf).
Useful table of Clebsch-Gordan coefficients (pdf, ps).
Note: Homework sets are posted here Fridays and are usually due on the following Friday.
Course Syllabus
Class datesTopics
Jan 14 Introduction.
The motives behind nuclear and particle physics and the objectives of this course in particular. Theories of nature and the fundamental forces. Laws of energy and momentum conservation.
Jan 16 Special relativity and spherical coordinates.
Special relativity, and non-relativistic limit. Spherical coordinates and solid angles.
Jan 16, 18, 23 Classical scattering.
Scattering of hard spheres. Differential cross sections. Coulomb interactions and Rutherford cross section.
Jan 25, 28, 30
Feb 1, 4
Nuclear sizes and form factors.
Fourier analysis and the Dirac delta function. Justifying form factors with Quantum Mechanics. Charge distributions, skin thickness and charge radii of nuclei.
Feb 6, 8, Composition of nuclei.
Basic components of nuclei. Discovery of neutron. Reaction energetics and Q-values. Thresholds of endothermic reactions. Nuclear notation.
Feb 11, 13, 18 Radioactivity I.
Alpha, beta and gamma decays, and electron capture. Law of radioactive decay and half-lives. Branching fractions, parents and daughters.
February 15 Midterm Examination 1
Topics covered: Everything prior to Radioactivity.
Feb 20, 22, 25 Radioactivity II.
Growth of daughters and secular equilibrium. The natural radionuclide series. Determining the Earth's age. Radioactive-carbon 14C dating.
Feb 27
Mar 1
Stability of nuclei.
SI units, Atomic units and Natural units. Binding energy B and mass defects. B/A plot of stable nuclei. Basic nuclear fusion and nuclear fission. Stellar energy and Hydrogen Cycle.
Mar 4 Nuclear models I
Fermions and Pauli-exclusion principle. Fermi-filling model.
Mar 6, 8, 11, 13 Nuclear models II
Liquid drop model. Coulomb energy of a spherical nucleus. Weizsacker mass formula M(A,Z) and B/A. Stability of nuclei from mass formula M(A,Z). Testing limits of mass formula. The nuclear matter limit.
March 22 Midterm Examination 2
Topics covered: Radioactivity up to (and including) Nuclear Models II.
March 25--29 Spring Recess. No classes.
Mar 15, 18, 20
Apr 1, 3, 5,
Apr 8, 10, 12
Apr 15, 17, 19
Fundamental principles of quantum mechanics.
Observation of intrinsic spin and Stern-Gerlach measurements. Group theory and vector spaces. Lie groups, angular momentum and representation theory. Instrinsic spin. LS couplings and Clebsch-Gordan coefficients. Operators and their eigenvalues. Nuclear Shell Model and magic numbers. Isospin and the nucleon.
Apr 22, 24, 26 Alpha decay and the deuteron.
The Schroedinger equation and reduced mass. Quantum theory of alpha decays and tunneling. Deuteron as a square-well bound state. Deuteron charge radius and form factors.
Apr 29
May 1, 3
Strong interactions of particles.
Particles and particle-holes or matter and anti-matter? Feynman diagrams and Yukawa-pion exchange. Mesons, baryons hadron spectroscopy. Quark flavor and color. Constructing hadrons from quarks. Discovery of Charmonium.
May 8 Final examination
Exam is on Wednesday, May 8 2002.
10:15am -- 12:30pm in 202 Smith Hall.

Class dates : Jan 14,16,18,21(MLK),23,25,28,30; Feb 1,4,6,8,11,13,15,18,20,22,25,27
Mar 1,4,6,8,11,13,15,18,20,22,25--29(Spring); Apr 1,3,5,8,10,12,15,17,19,22,24,26,29; May 1,3

Links to nuclear physics sites

In accordance with University policy, if you have a documented disability and require accommodations to obtain equal access in this course, please contact the instructor at the beginning of the semiester or when given an assignment for which an accommodation is required. Students with disibilities must verify their eligibility through the Office of Student Disability Services (SDS) in the Michael Schwartz Student Services Center (330-672-3391).