Atomic nucleus and radioactivity Creative Commons, Attribution alone (BY)
Authors: Warsaw University of Technology
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This module contains a script and supplementary materials for a lesson about nuclear physics and its applications, with a focus on medical applications. It starts with basic definitions and information about the structure of the matter on a microscopic level and fundamental building blocks of the world around us. Then, we present natural radioactivity, its sources and a how it was discovered. Following, we review properties of ionizing radiation, how it interacts with a matter and how it can be detected. Finally, we address numerous applications of ionizing radiation in medicine (medical imaging, cancer treatment), power generation and technology. The script includes simple exercise that exposes an analytical law behind stochastic (random) phenomena in physic and an online experiment where a student can examine the interaction of ionization radiation (gamma rays) with various substances.
Knowledge acquisition gain
  Basic knowledge about the structure of the matter, natural radioactivity, the nature of ionizing radiation and radioactive decays, and applications of nuclear science in medicine (imaging and cancer treatment) and industry.

Workforce in Physics

In the EU, around 540,000 students are enrolled in physics, astronomy, chemistry, and earth science courses. Jobs for physicists, other scientists and engineers grew by 7% in the past five years. Jobs for technicians in the field grew by 2%. Overall, they account for 7% of all jobs in the EU. As of 2016, around 15 million European science and engineering workers are employed. They work in a variety of sectors directly related to physics, including aerospace and defence, energy, engineering, manufacturing, oil and gas, science and telecommunications. Others work in sectors such as IT and consultancy, financial services, legal, transport and utilities. In the next years, jobs for engineers and researchers will increase by 13%, and jobs for science and engineering technicians will increase by 2%.

Number of staff
Education Level
12-15 years
15-18 years
25+ years
Science Discipline
Home use
Classroom use
Supervision required
Self study / No supervision
Knowledge prerequisites
Operating system
Cross platform / browser based
Technical requirements
Internet connection during class required
Installation effort
No installation required on typical computer

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