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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 12/10/2021 15:01:04

Title of Module: Research Topics in Nuclear Physics

Code: PHYS10010 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:John  F  Smith

Summary of Module

This module is a one of the Level-10 core components of the B.Sc.(Hons) programme in Physics with Nuclear Technology. The module covers aspects of radiation detection and measurement and an overview of current research topics in nuclear physics. A pre-requisite for the module is a good understanding of nuclear physics, such as that obtained through PHYS09011 Atoms and Nuclei. The content of this module is made up of a section about radiation detectors and their operation and use, followed by discussion of research methods and a discussion of current research topics in nuclear physics. The content is primarily presented in lectures, but with some demonstrations, and some self-study. Assessment is by examination (80%) and coursework (20%).  A brief outline of the module content is given below.

Radiation-detection principles
The interaction of charged particles and photons with matter; counting statistics; general properties of radiation detectors; background and detector shielding

Radiation detectors
Ion chambers; proportional counters; scintillation detectors and photomultiplier tubes; semiconductor diode detectors; x-ray detection; gamma-ray detection; detection of light and heavy charged particles; neutron detection

Research methods
Particle accelerators; overview of nuclear reactions; gamma-ray spectroscopy

Current topics in nuclear-physics research
Nuclear angular momentum; nuclear moments of inertia; rotational frequency and rotational alignments; selected topics in current research such as novel deformations, shape-coexistence, evolution of magic numbers; superheavy elements; nuclear astrophysics.

  • 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. Apply critical understanding to the use of physical techniques in radiation detection and measurement.

L2. Work with their knowledge of the principal techniques and their application to solve problems in any of the topic areas.

L3. Demonstrate a specialist understanding of the current areas of interest in nuclear physics research.

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.

The student will be required to gain a broad overview of the topics, in the lectures and through background reading and preparation for written assignments. In answering tutorial questions and exam preparation a critical understanding of the concepts will be required. Lectures and in particular assignments will take the student to the forefront and give some insight into how the subject is going forward in these two disciplines.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

In this module the student will use a range of principal skills through completing tutorial questions and review of lecture notes and additional material, s/he will also develop some advanced specialised skills in these topics, for example through use of simulation software.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

As Above

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

As Above

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

As Above

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 this module is primarily by lectures. Lectures will be complemented by tutorial work and discussions. Individual learning is vital for this kind of topic at an advanced level, in order that the student can develop their understanding from week to week. Students are encouraged to read reports and research publications of recent developments in the areas mentioned. This will be important in the written assignments which will be assessed for continuous assessment. It is expected that the student will use the information retrieval systems provided by the university. Adjustments for special needs can be made on request. Students are encouraged to use the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment tools to access useful links and obtain computer programmes or other resources provided by staff.
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 Delivery30
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity6
Independent Study164
Independent Study0
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:

G. F. Knoll “Radiation detection and measurement” Third Edition, Wiley (2000)

W. R. Leo “Techniques for Nuclear and Particle Physics Experiments” Springer-Verlag (1994)

L. Lyons “Statistics for Nuclear and Particle Physics” Cambridge University Press (1986)

In addition it will be necessary for students to consult the internet, “trade magazines” and published literature in order to complete their individual study and assignments.

Nuclear Physics research journals such as Nuclear Instruments and Methods,
Physical Review C, Physical Review Letters, Nature, and Nuclear Physics A.

(**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
ModeratorMichael Bowry
External ExaminerH Boston
Accreditation DetailsInstitute of Physics
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
80% Assessment Category 1 - final exam
20% Assessment Category 2 - one or more coursework assignment(s)
(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) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Unseen closed book (standard)check markcheck markcheck mark802

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of written workcheck markcheck markcheck mark2020
Combined Total For All Components100% 22 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
It is expected that any student satisfying the prerequisites would be able to undertake this module
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.