Ch 19: Basics of Nuclear Physics

About This Chapter

This convenient online physics chapter is designed to improve your understanding of nuclear physics. Complete the chapter's lessons and quizzes to improve your physics knowledge, prepare for an exam, finish a homework assignment or catch up in class.

Basics of Nuclear Physics - Chapter Summary

Work through this chapter at your own pace to brush up on the basics of nuclear physics. Inside, you'll find a series of bite-sized lessons that explain nuclear physics concepts in a way that's easy to understand and remember. You'll be able to reinforce your understanding of radioactive isotopes, radioactive decay, nuclear fusion and half-life by taking the lesson quizzes and chapter exam. Access the chapter at any time that fits your schedule, and be sure to submit questions to our instructors if you need any extra help. Upon completion of the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Evaluate the uses of radioactive isotopes
  • Recognize the different types of radioactive decay and describe their effects on the nucleus
  • Interpret decay graphs and use half-life to calculate radioactive decay
  • Compare several radiometric dating methods
  • Describe the processes of nuclear fission and nuclear fusion
  • Explain the concepts of critical mass and chain reaction control

8 Lessons in Chapter 19: Basics of Nuclear Physics
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Radioactive Isotope: Definition & Uses

1. Radioactive Isotope: Definition & Uses

There are over 1,000 known radioactive isotopes of elements in the periodic table. There are many applications of radioactive isotopes in various fields. In this lesson, we will learn all about radioactive isotopes and their uses.

Types of Radioactive Decay and Their Effect on the Nucleus

2. Types of Radioactive Decay and Their Effect on the Nucleus

What is meant by the term 'radioactive'? In this lesson we will break down the three main types of nuclear decay particles and discuss their composition, their effect on the nucleus, and their applications.

Radioactive Decay: Definition, Formula & Types

3. Radioactive Decay: Definition, Formula & Types

In this lesson, we'll discuss radioactive decay and learn the terms parent nucleus, daughter nucleus, and half-life. We'll also examine three types of radioactive decay.

Half-life: Calculating Radioactive Decay and Interpreting Decay Graphs

4. Half-life: Calculating Radioactive Decay and Interpreting Decay Graphs

What causes a radioactive particle to decay? We'll never really know, but our best guess lies in probability. In this lesson, we are going to focus on the half-life, a way of measuring the probability that a particle will react.

Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life

5. Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life

Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes. Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson.

What Is Nuclear Fission? - Definition & Process

6. What Is Nuclear Fission? - Definition & Process

The nuclei of some atoms decay by breaking into two smaller, more stable nuclei during a process called nuclear fission. Learn more about the process of nuclear fission and test your knowledge with a quiz.

What Is Nuclear Fusion? - Definition & Process

7. What Is Nuclear Fusion? - Definition & Process

Learn about the process of nuclear fusion and where it occurs naturally in our universe. Then go further by learning how we have harnessed its power and about some future possible uses for nuclear fusion.

Critical Mass & Controlling Chain Reactions

8. Critical Mass & Controlling Chain Reactions

Learn about critical mass in the context of nuclear reactors, as well as how we can manage nuclear chain reactions using control rods and water cooling. After the lesson, see how much you've learned by taking a quiz.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Support