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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 17/05/2022 10:38:35

Title of Module: Nuclear & Particle Physics

Code: PHYS10001 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Michael  Bowry

Summary of Module

This module is one of the SCQF Level-10 core components of the BSc Honours Physics and BSc Honours Physics with Nuclear Technology programmes. This module is normally taken in the honours year (fourth year). The module covers concepts of Nuclear and Particle Physics. Some of the material covered is introduced in the core level-9 module PHYS09002 Atoms and Nuclei.

The nuclear-physics part of this module covers the following topics: static properties of nuclei; the nuclear force; nuclear models; nuclear decay modes (including alpha-, beta-, gamma- decay and nuclear fission); nuclear radiation detection.

The particle physics part of the module covers the following topics: the basic building blocks of nature (quarks and leptons) and their interactions; the organization of quarks into baryons and mesons; a discussion of colour; basic concepts of QED and QCD with an emphasis on the use of Feynman diagrams; decays, conservation laws and symmetries, including parity non-conservation in the weak interaction.

The content can be summarised as follows.
1   The static properties of nuclei: mass, size, moments, spin, parity
2   Nuclear forces: the deuteron, spin dependence, charge independence, tensor force
3   Nuclear models; independent particle model, collective models
3   Nuclear decay (α,β,γ), nuclear fission
4   Nuclear detection techniques, Ge-Si-Na detectors
5   Foundations of particle physics - quarks and leptons, the Eightfold way, standard model
6   The fundamental forces - QED and QCD and Feynman diagrams
7   Symmetries, conservation laws, parity violation
8   Relativistic kinematics and the creation of particles

  • We have defined a set of Graduate Attributes that are the skills, personal qualities and understanding to be developed through your university experience that will prepare for life and work in the 21st century ( The Graduate Attributes relevant to this module are listed below.

  • Graduate Attributes - Academic: critical thinker; analytical; inquiring; knowledgeable; digitally literate; problem solver; autonomous; incisive; innovative

  • Graduate Attributes - Personal: effective communicator; influential; motivated

  • Graduate Attributes - Professional: collaborative; research-minded; enterprising; ambitious; driven

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate broad knowledge and critical understanding of the basic concepts of modern-day nuclear physics

L2. Demonstrate integrative knowledge and critical understanding of the basic concepts of modern-day particle physics.

L3. Demonstrate broad understanding of basic experimental nuclear-detection techniques.

L4. Demonstrate an ability to use understanding and knowledge in the solution of problems.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

Knowledge of the core concepts of basic nuclear and particle physics.

Demonstrate a critical understanding of nuclear forces and the strong interaction.

Demonstrate a critical approach towards experimental work at a high level including the use of fast modern day detection systems.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Use a selection of skills, techniques and practices applicable to employment in nuclear-related areas, or enabling further study (such as MSc or PhD).

Practice up-to-date literature searches of relevant topics in nuclear and particle physics.

Understanding of the concepts of the most important questions in modern-day nuclear- and particle-physics research.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Critical appreciation of underlying complex mathematical and group theoretical concepts.

Problem analysis, evaluation, solving and appreciation.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Use of computers for advanced studies (programming, simulation, data-mining).

Use of scientific database systems for literature searches.

Literary skills, enabling the communication of abstract concepts in written and verbal form.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Individual study and retrieval of scientific literature.

Working towards deadlines and accountability for scientific conducts such as referencing.

Interaction with peers in discussion of subject matter.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Thermodynamics & Statistical Physics
Quantum Mechanics
Atoms & Nuclei
Other:or equivalent
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The delivery of the PHYS10001 Nuclear and Particle Physics module is primarily lecture based. The lectures are complemented with worked examples, often integrated within the lectures. The examples address the mathematical and conceptual aspects of the material taught. A reading list is provided in the early lectures to direct the students towards relevant books and papers. Students are encouraged to read up-to-date literature on research topics in this field using, for example, online literature searches and online journals. Material supporting the lectures will be available on the Moodle VLE. As Physics is an experimental science, selected modern experiments are discussed during the lectures and tutorials. It is expected that students will carry out private study commensurate with a 20-point Level-10 module.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

*) Introductory Nuclear Physics, K Krane, John Wiley and Sons 1987

*) Introduction to Elementary Particles, D Griffiths, John Wiley and Sons 1987

*) The New Cosmic Onion: Quarks and the nature of the universe, F. Close, Barnes and Noble 2006

*) Nuclear and Particle Physics, WSC Williams, Oxford University Press 1992

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardPhysical Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelPhysical Sciences
ModeratorNara Singh Bondili
External ExaminerH Boston
Accreditation DetailsInstitute of Physics
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Examination - 80%
Written coursework assignment - 20%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Unseen closed book (standard)check markcheck markcheck markcheck mark802

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of written workcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark200
Combined Total For All Components100% 2 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
This module is appropriate for all students.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.