Formerly titled Nuclear Physics.
Whether we realize it or not, nuclear science continues to play a major role in all of our lives. Using a multi-disciplinary exploration, students will gain a solid understanding and appreciation of the scientific, technological, and societal implications arising from nuclear science.
Through state-of-the-art simulations and vibrant discussions, students will explore science topics including the history of nuclear discovery, types of nuclear reactions, interactions between radiation and matter, the standard model of subatomic matter and current research. Although some math is used to provide better understanding of the concepts covered, math problems are not the primary focus of the course. Technology components of the course include the design and function of particle detectors, nuclear reactors, nuclear bombs, nuclear waste facilities, geological dating, and nuclear medicine facilities.
Weekly discussions on controversial nuclear topics allow students to understand and appreciate the societal implications of the expanding field of nuclear science. They provide opportunities to look back at the politics behind weapons development and use, the Cold War, nuclear proliferation, and the atomic energy industry. Discussions during the course will also include topics that have made recent headlines; such as nuclear reactors in space, small modular nuclear reactors, radon mitigation, the demise of the Super-Conducting Super-Collider, the theft of nuclear secrets, food irradiation and nuclear test ban treaties.
A final student-created project will allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the need for collaboration between scientists, environmental advocates, engineers, public officials, and the general public in developing and implementing plans to address a number of current issues in nuclear science.
There are no formal prerequisites, however a basic understanding of atomic structure is helpful.
- Demonstrate an understanding of radioactive decay, nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.
- Research and discuss the history of nuclear discoveries.
- Describe the standard model of subatomic matter.
- Report on current research at worldwide nuclear research facilities.
- Participate in on-line research and data analysis.
- Explain the design and function of devices that make use of nuclear reactions.
- Use scientific principles in discussions of future nuclear technologies.
- Use research data to do risk assessments and cost assessments.
- Research and report on the politics of nuclear advancements.
- Participate in open-minded debates on the benefits and costs related to current nuclear applications.
Please note that this course contains an end-of-course proctored exam. Instructions for students to identify an appropriate adult proctor are included in the course lessons.
Science - Physical Science
9, 10, 11, 12, 13
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AdvancED, Certified by NCAA for initial-eligibility (VHS School Code: 221356), Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools