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Nuke physics vs atomic physics vs nuke engineering

  1. Sep 18, 2014 #1
    Okay can I first start of by saying sorry if there are any gramatical errors or mis-spellings I've got dyslexia and, well, sometimes things can get messy!

    So I have been really intrested in Physics since I was really young, mainly in things like astrophysics and questioning why things happen and why we exist. Anyway reciently I have got really intrested in the interaction of particals and atom and there effects on the world. And actually I'm really intrested in nucular power and how to better nucelar reactions, obsorb more energy, make it greener... Ect. Anyway I'm just wondering what feild would it be better to study into? And whats the diffrence between Nuke. Engineering and Nuke. Physics.

    Also I live in NZ and most unis only do basic phys and engineering. And we are tottaly anti nuke power. I plan on doing b.s.c and maybe masters here but go internationaly for phd, where/what unis and courses would you recomend for this?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2014 #2
  4. Sep 26, 2014 #3


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    In the Wikipedia article on Atomic Physics, the author highlights the distinction between atomic and nuclear physics.

    "However, physicists distinguish between atomic physics — which deals with the atom as a system consisting of a nucleus and electrons — and nuclear physics, which considers atomic nuclei alone." Nuclear physics deals with 'nuclear' processes, i.e., the physics inside the nucleus. The fission reaction involves a neutron or high energy particle interacting with the nucleus, which then causes the nucleus to fission. Of course, when the nucleus fissions, i.e., becomes two or more lighter nuclei, the atoms fissions as well, and the electrons from the initial atom reform around the two or more new nuclei. Nuclear energy is released in the fission process.

    Engineering is more or less applied physics. Nuclear engineering is the discipline of engineering applied to nuclear processes, e.g., fission and fusion. The objective is to develop systems that exploit potential nuclear energy for the purposes of producing useful thermal or electrical energy. Of course, one could also use the energy for destructive purposes - as in nuclear weapons.

    The field of nuclear engineering is multi-discipline, since we consider technological areas such as fluid flow and heat transfer, which are common to mechanical and aerospace engineering, and electrical power generation and control systems, which are common to electrical engineering, and materials behavior, which is basically materials science and engineering. Containing a nuclear reactor is the containment building and associated structures, and that is civil/structural engineering.
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