2019 Nuclear Physics

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Physics
Nakamura Takashi  Jido Daisuke 
Course component(s)
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue3-4(H135)  Fri3-4(H135)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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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

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

Lectures on basic explanation are given on the blackboard. In addition, for some topics, slides with a projector are used. Practical problems are given in the class and students are expected to solve them during the class or as homework for further understanding.

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) isospin, deuteron Expain isospin and spin of deuteron
Class 6 Nuclear Force (2) meson theory and Yukawa potential Explain the range 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 β-decay (1)different types of β-decay, Fermi theory Explain how the lifetime of β-decay is determined.
Class 10 β-decay (2)parity violation in weak interaction Explain what parity is.
Class 11 Frontier of nuclear physics (1) unstable nuclei, astro-nuclear physics Explain how unstable nuclei are related to nucleosynthesis.
Class 12 Classification of hadrons and symmetries Explain how hadrons are classified based on the flavor symmetry.
Class 13 Quark model Describe the wavefunction of proton based on the quark model
Class 14 Frontier of nuclear physics (2) constituent quark and mechanism of mass generation Explain the consituent quark and its properties
Class 15 Frontier of nuclear physics (3) 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, attendance 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.

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