Use mathematical and computational thinking to predict the products of radioactive decay (including alpha, beta, and gamma decay).
- Interactions and Energy
The student will demonstrate an understanding of how the interactions among objects can be explained and predicted using the concept of the conservation of energy.
Nuclear energy is energy stored in an atom’s nucleus; this energy holds the atom together and is called binding energy. Binding energy is a reflection of the equivalence of mass and energy; the mass of any nucleus is always less than the sum of the masses of the individual constituent nucleons that comprise it. Binding energy is also a measure of the strong nuclear force that exists in the nucleus and is responsible for overcoming the repulsive forces among protons. The strong and weak nuclear forces, gravity, and the electromagnetic force are the fundamental forces in nature. Strong and weak nuclear forces determine nuclear sizes, stability, and rates of radioactive decay. At the subatomic scale, the conservation of energy becomes the conservation of mass-energy.