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What is the difference between particle physics and nuclear physics?

  1. Feb 25, 2011 #1
    What is the difference between particle physics and nuclear physics?
    Two areas is often treated as a single region as "nuclear and particle physics".
    Some author of paper, however, distinguish sharply between the two regions.
    I want to know the boundaries of particle physics and nuclear physics.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2011 #2
    Nuclear Physics has become an obsolete term and Particle Physics has grown out of it. Particle Physics encompasses all interactions such as electromagnetism, weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force (gravity excluded).

    Nuclear Physics still exists though, Nuclear Physicists usually work in fission or fusion reaction (plasma physics). Although most theoretical work is done in Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics, a non-perturbative approach to solving QCD equations.
  4. Feb 26, 2011 #3
    There is also a lot of experimental work on exotic nuclei. For example we have a spectroscopy group and a nuclear moments group which are doing research on nuclear models through experiments in ISOLDE at CERN.
  5. Feb 26, 2011 #4


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    Nuclear physics is still alive as it is not possible to derived directly from the fundamental forces (e.g. QCD) the properties of nuclei. You need effective models not based on quarks but based on nucleons (bound states of quarks).

  6. Feb 26, 2011 #5
    There is no clear boundary between the two, it merely depends on the energy scale. The transition occurs around 100 MeV to a few GeV.
  7. Feb 26, 2011 #6


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    Nuclear physics looks at nuclei as composed of neutrons and protons and studies various reactions. Particle physics is the study of fundamental particles, i.e. quarks and leptons and their interactions.
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