Skip to main content

Questions tagged [nuclear-physics]

Nuclear physics is the field of Physics that studies atomic nuclei and their constituents and interactions. It started with the discovery of radioactivity by Henri Becquerel in 1896, together with the discovery of the electron by J. J. Thomson a year later.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1 vote
0 answers
128 views

Who were the famous scientists in the post-war British nuclear weapon project?

The Manhattan project is well known for gathering many top scientists of the century. The Soviet nuclear program seem to have a reduced but still important cast with scientists like Andrei Sakharov, ...
Mauricio's user avatar
  • 3,927
11 votes
2 answers
606 views

Who popularized the atom icon (atomic whirl or planetary model)

There is a symbol or icon for an atom that is instantly recognizable and is associated with nuclear physics and with chemistry. A search for "nuclear atom symbol" (on 3/23/2023) shows what ...
Karsten Theis's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
107 views

Was there a French nuclear weapons project during WWII?

France research pioneered the discovery of radioactivity and nuclear research. However looking at the names of non-US Americans in the Manhattan project there are very few French names (maybe just ...
Mauricio's user avatar
  • 3,927
1 vote
1 answer
423 views

When Kervran suggested biological transmutation of elements did anyone argue this

My understanding is that Kervran fed chickens a diet lacking in calcium and yet eggs were produced with calcium in their shells. Two related questions: Could not the calcium have been from the bones ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 1,173
0 votes
0 answers
93 views

How did the US get enough U235 for "Little Boy"

The answer to a different question (Where did Fermi get the U235 for the first nuclear pile) about U235, was that Fermi used natural uranium for his reactor. This explains, in particular, the origin ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 180
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is it said that Marie Curie died due to her work but the same isn't said for Fermi?

I learnt in school that Marie Curie died from her work at 66 years. On the other hand, Enrico Fermi, who also handled a lot of radioactive substances died of stomach cancer at the age of just 53. It ...
Rohit Pandey's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
359 views

Other than Franco Rasetti, how many scientists refused to work on the Manhattan Project on moral grounds?

Franco Rasetti was an American-Italian physicist. He was born in Italy and obtained his laurea in physics at the university of Pisa. Fermi invited him to join his research group at the University of ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
264 views

What's the origin of the claim that a single uranium atom fissioning would release enough energy to visibly move a grain of sand?

There's a fairly widespread claim that the energy released by the fission of a single atom of uranium would release enough energy to make a grain of sand visibly jump. Richard Rhodes's The Making of ...
DylanSp's user avatar
  • 221
2 votes
1 answer
236 views

Wasn't Feynman's parton model the same as the quark model?

In the early sixties of the previous century, the quark model of hadrons was conceived. In 1969 Richard Feynman introduced the parton model of the proton. Wasn't his parton model simply the same as ...
Deschele Schilder's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
120 views

Soviet atomic bomb development — advantage of knowing it could be done, was this ever said by any Soviet scientist?

I have heard it said that even if Fuchs had not provided details which must have been invaluable — just knowing, for example, that implosion and explosive lenses were employed without any further ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 1,173
2 votes
1 answer
739 views

What is the history of the use of the word daughter for a decay product in nuclear physics?

I was browsing the book Isotopes: Principles and Applications by Faure and Mensing and I would like to know what is the history of the use of the word daughter for a decay product. It seems to me that ...
Alessandro Jacopson's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
188 views

What was known about the properties of the nucleus before the Liquid drop model was proposed?

What was known about the properties of the nucleus (its shape, its density etc) and the nuclear forces before the Liquid drop model was proposed? I believe that some empirical knowledge must be out ...
Solidification's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
294 views

"Nuclear fusion is 30 years away" since when?

It's a well-known, running joke (or criticism) in the fusion community that Fusion is always 30 years away. refering to the considerable difficulties that harnessing nuclear fusion as an energy ...
stafusa's user avatar
  • 305
4 votes
0 answers
1k views

Was Richard Feynman really awarded a patent for a nuclear Airplane and Rocket?

I've been re-reading "Surely you're Joking Mr. Feynman", and at one point he talks about how at Los Alamos they were asked to write down any idea, no matter how obvious involving nuclear technology, ...
Steve Sether's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

What new physics was discovered or needed as a result of the Manhattan Project?

I originally asked this question on the Physics StackExchange and was told to migrate it here. I've tightened up the question a bit. I recently got into a discussion with colleagues regarding ...
irritable_phd_syndrome's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
168 views

Historic misidentification of transuranium elements?

In 1934, Fermi and his team irradiated uranium (Z=92) with neutrons in order to synthesize element 93. They (and others) did not recognize that they had performed a nuclear fission of uranium. The ...
faber's user avatar
  • 51
3 votes
0 answers
67 views

Why did "cold fusion" come to mean Fleischmann-Pons fusion instead of μCF?

Muon-catalysed fusion is obtained at low temperatures, although as of 2018 its energy yield is less than the muon production requirements. The term "cold fusion" was first used in the 1950s, ...
J.G.'s user avatar
  • 1,720
4 votes
1 answer
75 views

From a historical perspective why is beta decay associated with an anti neutrino instead of a neutrino?

I know it sounds like a silly question but didn't both Pauli and Fermi hint at Beta decay missing a particle to carry away a small amount of it's energy or mass but why is this an anti neutrino ? The ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
  • 1,223
2 votes
1 answer
120 views

When was it first noticed, or demonstrated, that radioactive material became warm?

Perusing the Radioactive Thermoelectric Generator or rtg tag in Space SE will show how important these items are for Space exploration both as a source of heat to ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 2,187
0 votes
0 answers
44 views

Did the B reactor at Hanford make use of U235 without having U238 enriched ?

I asked a question in similar vain for the "Fermi pile", however this reactor is different. It's purpose was to produce plutonium...now I understand the advantage of that since plutonium can be ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
  • 1,223
3 votes
1 answer
356 views

Where did Fermi get the U235 for the first nuclear pile?

I am puzzled as to where or who produced the U235 for the first nuclear pile. I read that graphite was used as a neutron moderator but only .7 % of natural uranium is U235. He must have gotten it ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
  • 1,223
1 vote
0 answers
60 views

What is the history of how a neutron moderator is chosen in nuclear chain reactions?

Maybe the wrong area...should be physics maybe...but there is some history here as well. I became interested in knowing how Fermi came to pick graphite as a neutron moderator. For example beryllium ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
  • 1,223
1 vote
1 answer
156 views

Did anything significant happened in 1960s that involve neutron?

I am playing with Ngram viewer and I plugged in several subatomic particles and saw this graph (see attached). The term "proton" was used starting the 1920 and neutron was discovered in 1932, which is ...
schrodingerscat11's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
983 views

Why did it take an army of physicists, working on a huge complex, so long to produce a working nuclear device, while it seems so easy in theory?

I think most of us know about the construction of the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos, with Robert Oppenheimer (who said he became "The destroyer of worlds", which goes to show he regretted his ...
Deschele Schilder's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
92 views

What was the boat-carried nuclear bomb envisaged by the Einstein–Szilárd letter?

In the letter to FDR during WWII written by Szilárd and signed by Einstein, a rather massive (emphasis added) nuclear bomb is theorized: This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
686 views

Did any famous physicists think nuclear weapons were impossible?

In the history of science and technology, there are some cases when scientists did not believe something that later turned out to be real. For example, Bill Gates was saying 640K is sufficient to any ...
Dims's user avatar
  • 129
6 votes
1 answer
911 views

Before the discovery of the neutron, how did scientists explain standard atomic weights?

The neutron was predicted in 1920 and discovered 12 years later. Before this time, how did scientists explain standard atomic weights? For example, Lithium has a standard atomic weight of about 6.9 ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 861
6 votes
4 answers
3k views

To what extent were the scientists involved in the Manhattan project aware of the goals?

I want to understand the extent to which scientists and technicians employed in the Manhattan project understood that they were building a bomb that would kill hundreds of thousands of people. ...
Elle Najt's user avatar
  • 161
5 votes
1 answer
108 views

Is there any history into the methodology that Balmer used for the spectral line formula?

What I am referring to is the Balmer formula as it appears in Wikipedia. To come up with this series by trial and error along with its constants is asking a little too much but I can't understand how ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
  • 1,223
2 votes
0 answers
38 views

When was the geological timescale determined by radiometric dating?

Long before radiometric dating, Earth's history was divided into a timescale with named units based on bands of rocks and fossils. Thus events could be placed in order by superposition. Some time ...
J.G.'s user avatar
  • 1,720
4 votes
1 answer
292 views

Who first noticed violation of aufbau principle of elements like Cr, Cu, Pd, Au, and how?

It is often referred to as 'anomalous electron configurations' or 'unusual order of filling of orbitals' of a few elements e.g. Cr, Cu, Nb, Mo, Ru, Rh, Pd, Au etc.
Dude Threefourseven's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why didn't Germany succeed in building a nuclear bomb in second world war?

Otto Hahn (a german) found out about nuclear fission in 1938, so that should have given the Germans a head start in developing a nuclear bomb. However they did not succeed in doing so during WWII. I'...
asmaier's user avatar
  • 241
3 votes
1 answer
149 views

Lise Meitner's contribution to this experimental apparatus and research effort?

I am reading a NYTimes obituary of Otto Hahn and the discovery of fission, and I've asked in physics SE about the function of the apparatus shown in that article. The system shown demonstrated the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 2,187