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Good Nukes, Bad Nukes

Physics 102, Fall, 2012

Professors Sullivan and Klopcic
Office: Hayes 206                    Hayes 101
Phone: x5830                              x5364

Website last updated 12/4/2012

   Nuclear power produces needed energy, but nuclear waste threatens our future. Nuclear weapons make us strong, but dirty bombs make us vulnerable. Nuclear medicine heals us, but nuclear radiation sickens us. Radio-carbon dating tells us about the past, but may challenge our religious faith. "Good Nukes, Bad Nukes" is designed to give students the scientific knowledge necessary to understand and participate in public discussions of nuclear issues. The core concepts include classification of nuclei, the types of energy (radiation) released in nuclear reactions, the interaction of that radiation with matter, including human health effects, and the design of nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. Hands-on demonstrations and experiments will explore radioactive decay, anti-matter, transmutation of atoms, nuclear detectors, and interactions of radiation with matter. We will apply the core concepts in discussions of contemporary issues: electric power generation using nuclear energy, including its environmental effects; advances in nuclear medicine; the challenges of preventing nuclear weapons proliferation; the threat from "dirty bombs"; and dating the Creation, for example. The course includes a field trip to OSU's nuclear reactor. This course is designed to be accessible to any Kenyon student, so there are no prerequisites.

  The course grade will be calculated from:

Three, in-class, short quizzes                         25%   50%

Cumulative exam                                           25%

Final paper                                                     20%

Five hands-on-experience reports                  20%

Field Trip participation                                  10%

 In addition, there is a requirement to complete all six, hands-on-experience opportunities. Failure to do so will be penalized by 1/3 letter in the final grade for each missed opportunity.

  We are committed to making it possible for everyone to be successful in this course. If there is something preventing that, please talk to Mr. Sullivan in private. Potential problems might be aspects of the course we can change, problems with other students, or disabilities. In the latter case, you are also urged to consult with Erin Salva, Coordinator of Disability Services, X5453, Consultation with Ms. Salva is required well before any test accommodations can be put in place.

 I am absolutely ruthless concerning plagiarism. I refer every instance of suspected plagiarism to the AIB. If you have any questions about situations that require citation, please consult me before your paper is due.

 I also believe that each of you own a piece of me for the price of your tuition and I enjoy getting to know all of you a little better. Please do not hesitate to take advantage of my office hours (M 3:10-5PM, W 10:10-11AM and TTh 4:10-5PM (immediately after class)). If you have a conflict during all of my office hours please contact me to arrange an appointment. Or just drop by my office in Hayes 206. I spend a lot of time in the department and if my door is open, I will be happy to talk to you.

 Course Calendar
 Date:  Topic:    
8/30   Welcome, Atoms, nuclei, nuclear nomenclature
  Nomenclature practice, "chart of the nuclides," types of radioactive decay
 9/6   Radioactive decay law and dose

9/11   Effective dose and biological effects of radiation
  Group B - Hands On Experience #1 - Hayes 105
 Group A -  worksheet #1 - Hayes 109
  Curve of binding energy, fission, fusion
  Group A - Hands On Experience #1 - Hayes 105
 Group B - worksheet #1 - Hayes 109 (worksheet #1 solution: Part 1, Part 2)
 Resonance and quantized energy levels, First in-class quiz
 First Quiz Solution
  Group B - Hands On Experience #2 - Hayes 105     Group A - Lecture - Hayes 109 - Radiometric Dating
  Nuclear reactors
  Group A - Hands On Experience #2 - Hayes 105  
 Group B - Lecture - Hayes 109 - Radiometric Dating
  Electrical energy generation
  October Break! Get some sleep!  

  Nuclear weapons design and effects
  Group B - Hands On Experience #3 - Hayes 105  
  Group A - Lecture  - Hayes 109 - SL-1 Accident & Worksheet #2
  Nuclear war and nuclear waste
  Group A - Hands On Experience #3 -  Hayes 105  
  Group B - Lecture  - Hayes 109 - SL-1 Accident & Worksheet #2 - Worksheet #2 solution
  Chernobyl and Three Mile Island
  Second in-class quiz     Second in-class quiz solution
  Worksheet #3
11/8   Group B - Hands On Experience #4 - Hayes 105     Group A - Work on worksheet - Hayes 109
11/13   Safety, costs, global warming
    Final Paper Assignment
  Group A - Hands On Experience #4 - Hayes 105

  Group B - Work on worksheet - Hayes 109 - Worksheet #3 solution
  Third in-class quiz

 Third in-class quiz solution
  Group B - Hands On Experience #5 - Hayes 105

  Group A - Field Trip to OSU
  US strategic nuclear policy in the 21st century (Tom Karako, CSAD)

  Group A - Hands On Experience #5 - Hayes 105

 Group B - Field Trip to OSU