I can't wait to start teaching Nuclear Physics at any level! I just think it is wonderful to begin to explain where the vast amounts of energy released in nuclear reactions come from.
There are nuclear equations to contend with which are perhaps some of the simplest elements of the A Level course, but then there are conceptually challenging graphs which explain nuclear stability, nuclear binding energy, alpha, beta and gamma decay, fission and fusion.
We can use Einstein's famous mass energy equivalence equation to calculate just how much energy is released from a small change in mass!
And all of this will be synoptic in explaining how stars are formed and a central tenet of special relativity; mass-energy equivalence.
This confuses students at first, I think because they have this fixed idea of what a nucleus is. And I mean fixed. Maybe they get the idea from chemistry that the nucleus is unchangeable, ordered and calm. In fact it's a totally unstable and dynamic place, and all these particles are just models to explain the observations we make of it!
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