2023 Nuclear Physics

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Physics
Fujioka Hiroyuki  Nakamura Takashi 
Class Format
Lecture    (Face-to-face)
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue3-4(W3-301(W331))  Fri3-4(W3-301(W331))  
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. 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

We will both write on the blackboard and show slides. 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 Fermi gas models for nuclei
Class 5 Shell structure (1) mean field potential Describe the shape of the mean field potential.
Class 6 Shell structure (2) magic number, closed shell structure, one-particle orbit Explain why and how magic numbers appear.
Class 7 Frontier of nuclear physics (1) unstable nuclei, astro-nuclear physics Explain how unstable nuclei contribute in nucleosynthesis.
Class 8 Decay of nucleus (1) (β-decay) Explain the relationship between the lifetime of β-decay and the coupling constant in weak interaction.
Class 9 Decay of nucleus (2) (β-decay) Explain the parity violation in β decay.
Class 10 Nuclear Force and Meson (1) Describe the relationship between the range of nuclear force and the meson mass.
Class 11 Nuclear Force and Meson (2) Explain isospin and spin of deuteron.
Class 12 Classification of hadrons and symmetries Explain the properties of hadron.
Class 13 Strangeness and Hypernuclei Explain the quantum numbers of quark.
Class 14 Quark model Describe the wavefunction of proton based on the quark model

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


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

Attendance in class, and report, and final exam.

Related courses

  • PHY.Q207 : Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
  • PHY.Q208 : Quantum Mechanics II(Lecture)
  • 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.

Office hours

It is recommended to ask quations just after the class.


Lecture 1-4 and 12-14 will be given by Fujioka. Lecture 5-11 will be given by Nakamura.

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