This section provides knowledge and understanding of Atomic physics, what an atom is made up of, what happens to the particles inside an atom, nuclear decay and radioactivity.
Ionising radiation is hazardous but can be very useful. Although radioactivity was discovered over a century ago, it took many nuclear physicists several decades to understand the structure of atoms, nuclear forces and stability. Early researchers suffered from their exposure to ionising radiation. Rules for radiological protection were first introduced in the 1930s and subsequently improved. Today radioactive materials are widely used in medicine, industry, agriculture and electrical power generation.
The different areas of this topic are outlined here;
- Atomic structure and approximate sizes
- The history of the atom
- Nuclear radiation
- Nuclear decay
- Safety precautions when using radioactive materials
- Background radiation
- Radioactive isotopes and tracers
- Fission and the chain reaction
Please remember that you started your GCSEs in year 9 and also learnt material in years 7 and 8 which led into this topic.