Main Nuclear Physics Nuclear Physics

Nuclear Physics

The use of nuclear energy in society is certainly one of the most widely debated and probably one of the most widely misunderstood topics in physics today. The public understanding gap needs to be addressed, so that scientifically literate people will be able to make well-informed decisions regarding the use of nuclear energy. It could be argued that an understanding of nuclear energy is a basic requirement for all students.

In order to be able to make such informed decisions, people need a solid knowledge base upon which to form opinions. This Core Unit is intended to provide students with such a broad base of knowledge and information from which they can form opinions and debate the use of nuclear energy.

Foundational Objectives for Physics and the Common Essential Learnings

In this unit students will increase their abilities to:

  • Recognize that when a scientific model fails to account for certain phenomena, the theory upon which it is based has to be revised or discarded in favour of more suitable theories.
  • Recognize that people are constantly being exposed to radiation from natural and human-created sources.
  • Recognize the potential danger of exposure to tissue and genetic material from radiation.
  • Understand that controversy can develop when scientists or others do not agree on important science- related issues.
  • Realize that scientists need to inform society of any real or potential abuse of science.
  • Recognize that scientists have a moral responsibility to bring about peaceful and humanitarian uses for their discoveries.
  • Assess different value positions and opinions held by scientists.
  • Appreciate that research is still needed into the long-term biological effects of radiation.
  • Defend a position which either supports or rejects the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
  • Understand the personal, moral, social, and cultural aspects of physics. (PSVS)
  • Use a wide range of possibilities for developing their knowledge of the major concepts within physics. (COM)
  • Develop as "strong sense" critical and creative thinkers. (CCT)
  • Become actively involved in decision-making related to technological developments. (TL)
  • Develop a positive disposition to life-long learning. (IL)


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