2017 Nuclear Physics

Font size  SML

Register update notification mail Add to favorite lecture list
Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Physics
Shibata Toshi-Aki  Nakamura Takashi 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue3-4(H135)  Fri3-4(H135)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

A nucleus is a quantum few body system composed of proton and neutron with strong interaction (nuclear force). It is unique in the sense that it has two features: quantum properties and semi-classical picture. The lecture is given on basics of nuclear physics such as properties of nuclear structure, characteristics of nuclear force, β-decay and γ-decay. Relations to particle physics, and applications to nucleosynthesis in the universe and nuclear physics of neutron star are also explained. Introductions to unstable nuclei and quark-gluon structure of the nucleon which are intensively studied recently are given.

The purpose of the course is to let students understand basics of nuclei which exist in atoms in materials. It is also intended that students understand the characteristics of nuclear force as strong force and study the features of nuclei such as shell structure. Another purpose of the lecture is to let students learn nuclear physics as the first example of application of quantum mechanics.

Student learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide an introductory explanation so that students understand basics of nuclear physics. In particular, students are expected to learn about nuclear structure, properties of nuclear force (strong interaction), β-decay (weak interaction), and γ-decay (electromagnetic interaction) as a quantum few body system. Furthermore, students learn how nuclear physics is applied to astrophysics and particle physics.

Themes in the course are gross properties of nuclei, the size and mass of nuclei, nuclear force and strong interaction, shell structure, deformation and collective motion of nuclei, β-decay, γ-decay, unstable nuclei, hypernuclei, quark physics, astro-nuclear physics.


Nuclei, binding energy, α-decay, β-decay, γ-decay, isospin, nuclear force, Yukawa meson theory, πmeson, Yukawa potential、Fermi gas model, shell mode, magic numbers

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Lectures on basic explanation are given on the blackboard. Demonstration experiments are also carried out. Practical problems are given in the class and students are expected to write their solutions on the blackboard and explain them orally to other students.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Gross properties of nuclei Explain typical properties of nuclei
Class 2 Size of nuclei Explain the ratio of sizes of a nucleus and an atom.
Class 3 Mass of nuclei, binding energy Explain the mass formula and binding energy based on it.
Class 4 Fermi gas model for nuclei Explain the similarity and difference between Fermi gas models for nuclei and for electrons in metal.
Class 5 Nuclear Force (1) meson theory and Yukawa potential Explain the range of nuclear force.
Class 6 Nuclear Force (2) nuclear force, features of strong interaction Explain the coupling constant of nuclear force.
Class 7 Shell structure (1)mean field potential Describe the shape of the mean field potential.
Class 8 Shell structure (2)magic number, closed shell structure, one-particle orbit Explain whay and how magic numbers appear.
Class 9 Deformation of nuclei Explain the types of deformation of nuclei.
Class 10 Collective motion of nuclei Explain the relation between collective motion and shell structure.
Class 11 β-decay (1)different types of β-decay, Fermi theory Explain how the lifetime of β-decay is determined.
Class 12 β-decay (2)parity violation in weak interaction Explain what parity is.
Class 13 γ-decay Explain the relation between the multi-polarity and parity of γ-ray.
Class 14 Frontier of nuclear physics (1)unstable nuclei, astro-nuclear physics Explain how unstable nuclei are related to nucleosynthesis.
Class 15 Frontier of nuclear physics (2)hypernuclei, quark physics Explain how hypernuclei are produeced.


Textbooks are introduced in the class.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

'Particles and Nuclei - an introduction to physical concepts', B. Povh et al., Springer Verlag,
'Nuclear Physics', Kosuke Yagi, Asakura Publishing Co., Ltd.
'Physics of Unstable Nuclei', Takashi Nakamura, Kyoritsu Shuppan Publishing Co., Ltd.

Assessment criteria and methods

Final examination, participation in discussion in class, and report

Related courses

  • PHY.Q207 : Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
  • PHY.F351 : Elementary Particles
  • PHY.F352 : Physics of the Universe

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

It is required that students have basic knowledge on quantum physics.

Page Top