About This Chapter
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Other chapters within the Physics 101: Intro to Physics course
- Intro to Physics
- Overview of Vectors
- Overview of Kinematics
- Overview of Forces
- Overview of Gravity
- Basics of Newton's First Law
- Basics of Newton's Second Law
- Basics of Newton's Third Law
- Energy and Work in Physics
- Overview of Linear Momentum in Physics
- Basics of Rotational Motion
- Waves in Physics
- Sound & Light in Physics
- Basics of Optics
- Fluid Dynamics in Physics
- Basics of Thermodynamics in Physics
- Overview of Electrostatics
- Overview of Magnetism
- Studying for Physics 101