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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP Physics B
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Nuclear Physics

  • For a nucleus, A = Z + N, where A is the number of nucleons (also called atomic mass number), Z is the number of protons (atomic number), and N is the number of neutrons.
  • Binding energy of a nucleus: it is the energy required to break the nucleus in separate nucleons (both protons and neutrons are called nucleons).
  • The separate nucleons, taken together, have a mass larger than the mass of the nucleus. The difference in mass, times the square of the speed of light, is the binding energy of the nucleus.
  • Alpha-Decay: A parent nucleus decays into an alpha particle (a helium nucleus) and a daughter nucleus.
  • Beta-Decay: A parent nucleus decays into an electron and a daughter nucleus.
  • Gamma-Decay: A nucleus makes a transition and emits a high energy photon.

Nuclear Physics

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
    • Nucleus
    • Positively Charged Particles
    • Z=Atomic Mass Number
    • Example of Carbon, 6 Protons and 6 Neutrons
    • Nucleus with 27 Protons
  • Binding Energy 18:56
    • Intro
    • Helium Nucleus
    • Binding Energy
  • Alpha Decay 29:08
    • Energy of Uranium
  • Beta Decay 43:03
    • Nuclei Emits Negative Particles
    • Beta Particles are Electrons
  • Gamma Decay 57:01
    • Gamma Ray is Photon of High Energy
    • Nucleus Emits a Photon
  • Extra Example 1: Radium Alpha Decay
  • Extra Example 2: Binding Energy of Iron
  • Extra Example 3: Missing Particle