87969 - Nuclear Physics

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Paolo Finelli
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: FIS/04
  • Language: English
  • Moduli: Paolo Finelli (Modulo 1) Cristian Massimi (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Physics (cod. 9245)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will be introduced to the basic concepts of Nuclear Physics. He/she will gain a general comprehension of nuclear models, nuclear reactions and neutron spectroscopy. He/she will have a general understanding of phenomena like nuclear fusion and fission and will be able to solve basic problems invol ving typical situation where different nuclear energy ranges are involved.

Course contents

The course aims to provide the basic tools to understand all the dynamics and implications of nuclear physics. Whenever is possible the topics will be analyzed from a historical, theoretical and applicative point of view.

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of quantum mechanics is required.

Program of the first part (Prof. Dr. Finelli):

Basic concepts of nuclear physics. Nuclear forces: empirical phase shifts and deuteron properties. Theoretical description of the nuclear potential. Basic approaches to the structure nuclei: ground and excited states. Theory of the compound nucleus. Radioactive decays: decay chains, half-lives, natural radioactivity, and radiation measurement. Beta decay: weak interaction, non-preservation of parity, decay rates, ft values, permitted processes, prohibited processes, selection rules, and double beta decay. Alpha decay: Gamow's theoretical approach, and selection rules. Gamma decay: electromagnetic moments, Schmidt lines, multipole expansion, selection rules, and Lande 's formula. Nuclear reactions and neutron scattering, neutron absorption and moderation. History of nuclear fission. Nuclear fission theory and phenomenology. (36 hours)

Program of the second part (Prof. Dr. Massimi):

Nuclear reactions: conservation laws and Q-value. General characteristic of cross sections and experimental techniques. Compound-nucleus reactions, direct reactions and resonance reactions. Neutron physics: sources, reactions and detectors. Nuclear Astrophysics: Primordial and Stellar Nucleosynthesis, nuclear cosmochronology. Solar fusion and neutrinos. Overview on recent nuclear physics experiments and their applications. (20 hours)


All lectures and references can be found on the following website


Teaching methods

Standard classroom classes

Assessment methods

Written examination on both parts of the course.

Please fill the corresponding form through Almaesami.

Teaching tools

Slides, notes and reading materials (english and italian language) will be available on the website.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Paolo Finelli

See the website of Cristian Massimi