Physics 6805 Topics in Nuclear Physics
Autumn, 2017

General Information about 6805 Topics in Nuclear Physics

Course title:
Topics in Nuclear Physics
There is no required text to buy but there will be readings from several sources available for free online. These include:
The prerequisite is concurrent enrollment in 5500 or 5500H quantum mechanics or permission of Prof. Furnstahl (e.g., if you did Unit Q in 1251H and still remember it :). Talk to Prof. Furnstahl if you're concerned about your preparation.
Nuclear physics is a wide-ranging subject, with all four forces of the standard model playing a role (can you guess where gravity comes in?). Forefront research in nuclear physics addresses far-reaching questions on the nature of the strong interaction (e.g., what governs the transition of quarks and gluons into pions and nucleons?); on atomic nuclei (e.g., what is the nature of the nuclear force that binds protons and neutrons into stable nuclei and rare isotopes?); on astrophysics (e.g., what is the origin of the elements in the cosmos?); fundamental symmetries and neutrinos (e.g., why is there now more visible matter than antimatter in the universe?); as well as societal concerns such as energy production and diagnostic/treatment tools for medicine. Physics 6805 will survey this wide spectrum at a level accessible to OSU physics majors. We will take advantage of the recent development of a Nuclear Physics Long-Range Plan (LRP) as a source of (free!) materials as well as an example of how large-scale science works. The pace and depth of coverage will be adjusted as we go based on feedback from the class.
Instructional Philosophy:
The structure of the course is based on the observation that "active learning" is more effective than straight lectures during which you are passively listening. As we all know from experience, you really learn the physics when you do problems, ask questions, and discuss the underlying concepts (or, even more so, when you have to teach it!). So the most important part will be discussions and actual problem solving among the participants and the instructor. To make this possible, we will dedicate much of the class time to discussion questions and simulations (and we "flip" some lecture material so you look at videos and other material outside of class and we do discussion questions and exercises in class), and students will be highly encouraged to discuss and work on assignments with each other. This will be facilitated with the online student-driven question-and-answer system (Piazza), which can be accessed through Canvas. There will be Piazza-based assignments that range from two-minute problems to advanced exercises for the experts. Some of the exercises are designed to lead the student to go back over particular lecture material to make sure it is understood while others extend the lecture and still others introduce topics not yet touched upon. To avoid the assignments from becoming major time sinks, we do not attempt to develop the type of problem-solving skills that require students to struggle over individual problems for many hours. Rather, the idea is to guide students rather explicitly but let them fill in details collaboratively.
Prof. Richard Furnstahl
office: M2048 PRB
phone: 614-292-4830 (office) or 614-847-4026 (home)
Class meets TWThF from 9:10am-10:05am in Smith 1094.
Office Hours:
By appointment (asking in class is easiest) or just drop by Prof. Furnstahl's office (M2048).
Assessment (grading):
Based on in-class worksheets and participation in the online question-and-answer forum (Pizza). The latter will include developing explanations of a few selected slides from Long-Range Plan presentations. [Note: The details here may evolve as we proceed through the course.]
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Physics 6805 Course Information.
Last modified: 10:05 am, December 21, 2018.