Nuclear Physics and Medical Applications
In this concluding chapter, we first summarize our knowledge of the atomic nucleus and discuss the types of nuclear radiation emitted by nuclei and how they can be detected. The rest of the chapter focuses on a variety of applications of nuclear radiation in science and medicine. We start our discussion of applications by introducing the half-life and its use in radioactive dating. Then we introduce some important ideas on dosimetry and the biological effects of radiation, as well as some ideas on nuclear medicine. Two methods (SPECT and PET) are discussed that use nuclear radiation to do imaging of the body, known as radiation tomography. The chapter concludes with the processes of nuclear fission and fusion, two topics that should be understood at a basic level by everyone in this nuclear age.
Nuclear Size, Structure, and Forces
The nucleus is an extremely small dense object in an otherwise nearly empty atom. As we’ve seen, atomic sizes are about 0.1 nm. The nucleus is typically...