Course Title: Radiation & Nuclear Physics

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Radiation & Nuclear Physics

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption. 

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT:

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance: 

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance. 


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 1 2022

Course Coordinator: Prof. Rick Franich

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3390

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 014.06.007

Course Coordinator Availability: Please email for an appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Students undertaking this course are assumed to have a thorough grounding in the following areas of knowledge such as provided by the recommended course in each case (or equivalent):

  • Scientific mathematics, calculus, uncertainties (MATH1142 Calculus and Analysis 1 and MATH1144 Calculus and Analysis 2)
  • Kinematics, energy, momentum, forces (PHYS2122 Mechanics)
  • Introductory quantum mechanics and relativity (PHYS2123 Modern Physics)
  • Electromagnetism (PHYS2127 Thermodynamics and Electromagnetism)
  • Scientific communication and presentation of data such as provided by a first year laboratory program and ONPS2334 Scientific Skills and Communication

Course Description

This course deals with the theory and applications of atomic and nuclear physics, and the interactions with matter of ionising radiation such as X-rays, Gamma Rays, Electrons, Alphas, and Neutrons. You will study the many sources of radiation including radioactive nuclide decay, the quantum description of nuclear properties and behaviour, nuclear models (liquid drop, Fermi gas, shell models), radioactive (statistical) decay, the different modes of decay including electromagnetic transitions, and elements of particle physics. Applications of nuclear physics are also discussed.

You will also be introduced to the fundamentals of radiation detection. The course is augmented with practical laboratory sessions in radiation and nuclear physics. On completing this course you will be well prepared for advanced studies of theory and applications of Radiation and Nuclear Physics such as Medical Physics. The course provides the necessary background for some advanced laboratory and final year project experiments. Importantly, the course gives you the opportunity to use high-quality equipment in the radiation laboratories within the School, and teaches the principles of good laboratory practice.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BP229PHYS Bachelor of Science (Physics),   BP305PHYDD Bachelor of Science (Physics)/Bachelor of Business (Management) and BP230 Bachelor of Science (Nanotechnology):

PLO-1 Understanding science

PLO-1.1 You will demonstrate an understanding of the scientific method and an ability to apply the scientific method in practice.

PLO-1.2 You will demonstrate an understanding of the role and relevance of science in society.

PLO-1.3 You will demonstrate an understanding of the role and importance of evidence in the continuous evolution of scientific knowledge.

PLO-3 Inquiry and Problem Solving

PLO-3.1 You will be able to plan and carry out a research project under supervision, showing the development of some capacity for independent work.

PLO-3.2 You will be able to gather, critically review and synthesise information relevant to a scientific inquiry or research project.

PLO-3.3 You will be able to choose appropriate tools and methods to solve scientific problems within your area of specialization.

PLO-3.4 You will demonstrate well-developed problem solving skills, applying your knowledge and using your ability to think analytically and creatively.

PLO-3.5 You will possess an ability to accurately record, analyse, interpret and critically evaluate your research findings.

PLO-4 Communication

PLO-4.1 You will be able to communicate the solution to a problem or the results of a scientific investigation using effective oral, written and presentation skills.

PLO-4.2 You will be able to communicate the solution to a problem or the results of a scientific investigation using appropriate methods for different audiences.

PLO-5 Personal and professional responsibility

PLO-5.1 You will develop a capacity for independent and self-directed work.

PLO-5.2 You will work responsibly, safely, legally and ethically.

PLO-5.3 You will develop an ability to work collaboratively.

On completion of this course you should be able to: 

  1. Demonstrate an extended knowledge of fundamental concepts in Nuclear Physics such as nuclear models, sub-nuclear particles and interactions, quantum properties and behaviour, instability, decay modes, energetics, radiation emission and interactions with matter;
  2. Undertake complex calculations involving processes in radioactive decay;
  3. Describe and explain nuclear properties in terms of the behaviour and interaction of subnuclear components;
  4. Describe nuclear structure, behaviour and associated phenomena with use of various models, and appreciate the applicability and limitations of each;
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the particles (such as quarks) that comprise nucleons and are involved in exchange forces etc and use this knowledge to explain various properties of nucleons and their behaviour.
  6. Solve conceptual and quantitative problems in Radiation and Nuclear Physics;
  7. Communicate experimental findings and explain concepts to others – both to experts and non-specialists;
  8. Work in a group environment to solve extended physics problems and to conduct experiments using sophisticated radiation detectors and to interpret measurement results;
  9. Apply the theory you have learned to novel physical situations;
  10. Maintain a scientific journal and report on technical matters in a clear and concise manner using appropriate scientific vocabulary. 

Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn in this course by:

  • Attendance at lectures where material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
  • Private study, working through the theory as presented in lectures, texts and notes, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems;
  • Completing tutorial questions designed to give you further practice in application of theory, and to give feedback on your progress and understanding;
  • Completing written and online assignments consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter;
  • Undertaking a number of laboratory experiments related to the theory topics, keeping a laboratory journal and preparing both written and oral reports on their outcomes.

Total Study Hours

60 teacher-guided hours (including 24 hours of Lab classes) and approximately 60 student-directed hours

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be able to access comprehensive course information, lecture notes, laboratory manuals, learning materials and other useful resources through the myRMIT website. You will also use laboratory equipment and computer-aided learning technologies within the School for project and assignment work. Lists of relevant reference texts, resources in the library and internet-based resources will be provided in the lecture notes and during the classes. Details of the recommended textbooks for this course are also provided in Part B of the course guide.

Overview of Assessment

Note that this course has no hurdle requirements. 

Problem Solving Assessments

Weighting 20% 

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 


Topic Quizzes 

Weighting 10% 

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 4 & 6 


Laboratory Assessments 

Weighting 30% 

This assessment task supports CLO 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10 


Skills and Capability Assessments 

Weighting 40%  

This assessment supports CLO 1, 3, 4, 5 & 6