Question about which branch of physics this would be

In summary, the conversation discusses a question about understanding nuclear physics, specifically related to radioactivity and nuclear decay. The individual is interested in learning more about the mechanics of these processes and is looking for a good introductory source. Suggestions are made for general physics textbooks and a specific book on nuclear and particle physics. The individual clarifies that they are not looking for a complicated explanation and would prefer a simpler approach to understanding these topics.
  • #1
tectactoe
39
0
Question about which "branch" of physics this would be...

I posted this in General since I wasn't sure... and it's not an actual problem, per se, just an inquiry about the fields of physics... (sorry if this is the wrong forum >_>)

During work at lunch one day, I was stumbling through wikipedia articles and found myself reading about nuclear power plants, reactor cores, and how they are powered through the fusion of uranium and plutonium.

As a mechanical engineer, this was all very interesting to me, even though I don't know much about the "fusion" of said materials - but I'd like to learn. I began clicking on things like nuclear decay, and radioactivity, half life, etc etc...

My question is - what kind of book or source can I buy/go to that would be a good "starter" guide for understanding radioactivity and related topics like this? Radioactive energy and such.

Thanks guys!
 
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  • #2


You're probably wondering about nuclear fisson processes, not fusion.

With regards to radioactivity, half-life etc., these can be relatively simple concepts to understand in a macroscopic sense. We have simple statistical models that describe radioactive decay very well.

If you want to know the mechanics of radioactive decay, things can easily become very, very complicated. If you're looking for clarity on a subject, and unless you're especially dedicated with a lot of time on your hands, quantum mechanics is rarely the answer.

The introductory, classical stuff on radioactivity, that's usually included in most of the general physics texts available to undergrads. As an engineer, don't you have some of these books lying around?
 
  • #3


Unfortunately, not a general physics book. The only books I kept from college were books regarding fluid mechanics, heat transfer, manufacturing process, materials, and static/dyanmic related books.

I've read a few books on quantum physics before, and so I know how mind-numbing those can be. I should've clarified - I'm just looking for a slightly more simple, or basic, means by which to understand radiation, decay, fission (my mistake for the fusion typo), etc, basically to understand how the heat/energy is produced through the uranium in reactors. And granted, I could just look that up on the internet, but after having read a bit on reactor cores through various wikipedia articles and such, I'm growing more curious about radioactive stuff in general - not just uranium.
 
  • #4


Pick up any "Modern Physics" book. They should all have sections on basic nuclear physics. Beyond that, the book we used for my Nuclear Physics class is WSC Williams "Nuclear and Particle Physics," it certainly has all the information you're looking for, but I found it difficult to read.
 
  • #5


This would fall under the branch of nuclear physics. Nuclear physics is the study of the structure and behavior of atomic nuclei, including the processes of nuclear fusion and fission. It also encompasses the study of radioactivity and radioactive decay. A good starting point for learning about this topic would be a textbook on nuclear physics or a course on the subject. You could also look into online resources or attend lectures or seminars on nuclear physics. It may also be helpful to consult with a nuclear physicist or expert in the field for guidance and recommendations on learning materials.
 

Related to Question about which branch of physics this would be

1. What is the definition of physics?

Physics is the branch of science that deals with the study of matter, energy, motion, and force, as well as the interactions between them.

2. What are the main branches of physics?

The main branches of physics are classical mechanics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and relativity.

3. Which branch of physics deals with motion and force?

Classical mechanics is the branch of physics that deals with the study of motion and force in objects at everyday scales.

4. What is the difference between theoretical and experimental physics?

Theoretical physics is the branch of physics that uses mathematical models and theories to explain the behavior of physical systems, while experimental physics involves conducting experiments and making observations to gather data and test theories.

5. Which branch of physics studies the behavior of matter at a microscopic level?

Quantum mechanics is the branch of physics that studies the behavior of matter and energy at a microscopic level, including atoms and subatomic particles.

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