Nuclear Science

Nuclear science is the study of sub-atomic particles and their application in various disciplines. Here you can learn about nuclear power plants, atomic theory and radiation.

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In nuclear physics, the concept of half-life plays a crucial role in understanding the decay of radioactive substances. Scientists use the half-life formula in other disciplines to predict the rate of decay, as well as measure the age of ancient artifacts through carbon dating.

By Yara Simón

The Standard Model of physics provides a framework for the subatomic world of all energies. Could a possible newfound carrier boson expand the definition of that framework?

By Mark Mancini

Tour the inside of a nuclear power plant with these illustrative diagrams to learn more about how nuclear power plants work.

By Allison Loudermilk

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The nuclear arms race was a frantic era in which several nations tested nuclear technology and stockpiled warheads. Read about the nuclear arms race.

By John Fuller

Dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended World War II. How did the most powerful weapon in the world get developed? It started with the Manhattan Project.

By John Fuller

Thorium is in many ways safer than uranium for nuclear power production. But is it safe enough to bet on for our energy future?

By Jesslyn Shields

Atom smashers tell us about the fundamental structure of matter, the forces holding it together and the origins of the universe. Discover how scientists use particle accelerators to break atoms apart to learn about the nature of reality.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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When the power goes out and is later restored, how do you know what time to set your clocks to? Have you ever wondered how time is regulated? Learn how scientists determine exact time.

By Douglas Dwyer

Nuclear radiation can be extremely beneficial or extremely harmful -- it all depends on how it's used. Learn what nuclear radiation is all about.

By Marshall Brain & Desiree Bowie

Fusion reactors will use abundant sources of fuel, will not leak radiation above normal background levels, and will produce less radioactive waste than current fission reactors. Learn about this promising power source.

By Patrick J. Kiger & Craig C. Freudenrich

I once saw this device shaped like a light bulb. It had a vertical support inside it, and on that support there were four vanes with four diamonds on the end. One side of the diamond was black and the other was white. I did a little research and found out that it was called a Crookes' radiometer -- how does it work?

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Many ads for new clocks advertise their ability to automatically synchronize themselves with the atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado. This atomic clock is more precise because it uses the frequencies of atoms as its resonator.

Nuclear materials get used in many forms of nuclear medicine -- everything from PET scans to chemotherapy uses them. Learn how nuclear medicine works.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

On the one hand, nuclear power offers a clean energy alternative that decreases fossil fuel dependence. On the other, it summons images of quake-ruptured Japanese power plants leaking radioactive water. What happens in reactors in good times and bad?

By Marshall Brain, Robert Lamb & Patrick J. Kiger

Iran has announced its activation of a second set of uranium centrifuges. These machines are at the core of the uranium-enrichment process. Find out where the centrifuge fits into the equation.

By Marshall Brain

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Explosions, fires and dangerous radiation levels dominated the headlines after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami sparked a nuclear crisis in Japan. How did so many safety measures fail?

By Marshall Brain

In 1957, Hugh Everett first wrote about the multiverse — different realms where every choice spawns a separate universe in which another version of ourselves does something different. It sounds crazy, but here are some reasons it might be true.

By Patrick J. Kiger

If the sight of a mushroom cloud burning above the horizon suggests that the nuclear weapon-equipped world might end with a bang, then nuclear winter presents the notion that post-World War III humanity might very well die with a whimper.

By Robert Lamb

In the comics, radiation exposure turned an average man into a pea green and angry Incredible Hulk. But in reality, what can radiation do to those exposed? Is it always a villain?

By Debra Ronca

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We're all exposed to tiny levels of radiation, but a blast of it can leave you in agony — that is, if it doesn't kill you outright. What is it, what causes it and how can we treat it?

By Ed Grabianowski

Over the years, nuclear reactors have been viewed as both a miracle and a menace. How does a nuclear reactor do its job? And what happens when something goes wrong?

By Patrick J. Kiger

It's lunchtime, and you've spastically spilled soda all over your desk. Chances are you could tackle that mess faster than we could say "Mr. Clean." What do you do though when the spill is radioactive?

By Jonathan Atteberry

Nuclear meltdowns can be scary, but it's important to understand what causes them. Learn about how nuclear meltdowns work.

By Robert Lamb & Desiree Bowie

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The seriously ambitious experiment aims to understand the mysterious neutrino and maybe even figure out why matter won out over antimatter during the Big Bang.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor plant aims to demonstrate that nuclear fusion could be a viable source of power in the future.

By Patrick J. Kiger