3 x 50-minute lectures weekly
3 x 6-hour laboratories per semester
Enrolment not permitted
PHYS8701 has been successfully completed
Topic description

This topic provides an introduction to Nuclear Physics and Statistical Mechanics.

The material to be taught in this topic will consist of a selection from the following lists:

Nuclear Physics: Basic properties of Nuclei, Scattering Theory, Nucleon-Nucleon Forces, Nuclear Models, Radioactive Decay, Nuclear Reactions, Fission, Fusion, Nuclear Astrophysics, Elementary Particles.

Statistical Mechanics: Classical and Quantum Distributions, Microcanonical, Canonical, and Grand Canonical Ensembles, Equipartition Theorem, Fermi Gas, Bose Gas, Blackbody Radiation, Debye Theory, Bose-Einstein Condensation

Educational aims

This topic aims to give students a sound understanding of Nuclear and Statistical Physics. In addition, it aims to enhance students understanding, while developing their problem solving abilities, by including topic-specific problem solving exercises. Similarly, the students laboratory based work is aimed to both enhance their understanding and to develop their experimental skills.

Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Statistical Mechanics: Derive the Maxwell-Boltzmann, Fermi-Dirac, and Bose-Einstein Distributions
  2. Statistical Mechanics: Understand and use various Statistical Ensembles to calculate thermodynamic quantities
  3. Statistical Mechanics: Define and use the Partition Function
  4. Statistical Mechanics: Derive the Equation of State for classical and quantum gases
  5. Statistical Mechanics: Use the Equipartition Theorem to predict energies of various systems
  6. Statistical Mechanics: Describe Fermion gases at zero and finite temperatures
  7. Statistical Mechanics: Describe Bose gases at zero and finite temperatures
  8. Statistical Mechanics: Use and understand the concept of phonons to describe vibrational energies of solids
  9. Nuclear Physics: Describe the basic features of nuclei
  10. Nuclear Physics: Understand and be able to use scattering theory to describe 2-body elastic cross sections and phase shifts
  11. Nuclear Physics: Make simple potential models of the nucleon-nucleon force
  12. Nuclear Physics: Qualitatively describe the Nuclear Shell and Collective Models
  13. Nuclear Physics: Describe the basic properties of alpha, beta, and gamma decays
  14. Nuclear Physics: Demonstrate basic knowledge of nuclear fission and fusion and their applications
  15. Nuclear Physics: Appreciate the role Nuclear Physics plays in Astrophysics
  16. Nuclear Physics: Complete related laboratory experiments

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.