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Nuclear Physics: A Very Short Introduction

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Provides the historical development, key ideas, and applications of nuclear physics in a nutshell
Explores exciting new research in the field, with sections on exotic nuclei and the attempts to make superheavy elements
Describes key applications of nuclear physics, especially its importance in medicine through MRI and PET scans
Forms a companion volume to Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction by the same author

Series: Very Short Introduction Series Volume: 438

By: Frank Close (Author)

123 pages, 13 b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Jul 2015 | #220420 | ISBN-13: 9780198718635
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £5.99 £7.99 (Save £2.00) $7/€7 approx

About this book

Nuclear physics began long before the identification of fundamental particles, with J. J. Thomson's discovery of the electron at the end of the 19th century, which implied the existence of a positive charge in the atom to make it neutral. In this Very Short Introduction Frank Close gives an account of how this area of physics has progressed, including the recognition of how heavy nuclei are built up in the cores of stars and in supernovae, the identification of quarks and gluons, and the development of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). Exploring key concepts such as the stability of different configurations of protons and neutrons in nuclei, Frank Close shows how nuclear physics brings the physics of the stars to Earth and provides us with important applications, particularly in medicine.


1: The fly in the cathedral
2: Nuclear alchemy
3: Powerful forces
4: Nucleosynthesis
5: Odds, evens, and shells
6: Beyond the Periodic table
7: Exotic nuclei
8: Applied nuclear physics

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Frank Close is Professor of Physics at Oxford University and a Fellow of Exeter College. He was formerly the Head of the Theoretical Physics Division at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and Head of Communications and Public Education at CERN. He is the author of several books, including the best-selling Lucifer's Legacy (2000), and was the winner of the Kelvin Medal of the Institute of Physics for his 'outstanding contributions to the public understanding of physics'. His other books include The Cosmic Onion (1983), The Particle Explosion (1987), End (1988), Too Hot to Handle (1991), and The Particle Odyssey (2002). In 2013 Professor Close was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for Communication of Science.

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