Nuclear physics is one of the most important branch of Physics, having infinite number of applications in various fields. These fields include Nuclear power generation, nuclear weapons, MRI, medicines, carbon dating, archaeology, geology, astrophysics and the list goes on like this. So in this article, we will get to know about some of the most important facts related to this incredible field of physics, and some of them are going to baffle you for sure!
8. Nuclear physics is all about atomic nucleus which was discovered accidently by Rutherford when he was bombarding a thin golden foil by alpha particles.
“It was quite the most incredible event that has ever happened to me in my life. It was almost as incredible as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you” -Rutherford (recalling his discovery of nucleus)
7. An atom is almost an empty space ! About 99.9% of its mass is contained in its nucleus, which posseses a density of about 10^14 grams per cubic centimeter. The volume of a hydrogen nucleus is about trillion times smaller than the volume of atom itself, still it contains most of its mass!
6. The nucleus of atom is widely associated with energy production. It can produce energy either by splitting (fission) or by combing with other nuclei (fusion). Our sun is producing energy by converting hydrogen nuclei to helium.
5. The Nuclei of some elements are not stable. These elements are referred to as radioactive elements and they keep on emitting particles and energy, collectively called radiations. These radiations lead to the death of Marie Curie, who herself discovered these radiations.
4. Most nuclear power plants use uranium as their fuel for power production processes. Every 18 to 24 months, a nuclear plant needs to be shut down in order to remove it’s spent uranium fuel which becomes a radioactive waste.
3. Nuclear physics has wide applications in medical sciences also. The radiations emitted can cause cancer as a well as can cure cancer. Weird! Moreover, nuclear physics is also used to create beautiful 3D images of tumors inside your body.
2. Nuclear energy is being used in more than 30 countries around the world and even powers Mars rovers.
1. The half life of radioactive element tellurium-128 is 2.41 septillion years , which is a lot more than the age of universe!
Nuclear Physics is really amazing. Isn’t it?