This exam is present in the following Optional Group


Aim of the Course is to provide the basic knowledge of Nuclear Physics at the present stage, recalling the strong interplay with other fields of Physics , both at the frontier of the research in the subnuclear Physics (e.g., stellar evolution, search of signals of new Physics) and on the side of applications , like in medical, environmental and cultural-heritage fields. As a part of the final examination, besides the oral one, students will be asked to give a short presentation, at most 20 slides, of a topic chosen among the ones proposed and according to their interests in the field.





Nuclear physics general topics:

- Introduction to Nuclear physics
- General nuclear properties, determination of nuclear radius and density
- Binding energy semi-empirical mass formula
- Nuclear models: liquid drop and Fermi gas
- Two nucleon system, deuteron model, spin and magnetic moment
- Nucleon-nucleon elastic scattering (n-p, p-p, n-n) and phase shifts.
- Exchange models and general Nuclear interaction properties
- Nuclear shell model, predictions and limitations
- Collective Nuclear models: rotational and vibrational
- Radioactivity: alpha, beta and gamma decays
- Nuclear reactions generalities
- Nuclear fission and fusion principles

Nuclear physics topics on fundamental and applied research:

Nuclear astrophysics: solar pp and CNO nucleosynthesis cycles phenomenology and experiments
Nuclear techniques in rare events searches: double beta neutrino-less decays and dark matter direct detection.
Nuclear energy: fission reactors principles, fuel cycle, dual use. Thermonuclear fusion reactors principles.
Nucleon structure and QCD studies at high energy (EIC)


- Introduction on Nuclear physics:
- Nuclear stabiity and binding energy
- Nuclear radius and density
- Semi-empirical mass formula, liquid drop model and Coulomb term
- Semi-empirical mass formula continued, asymmetry and pairing
- Mass parabolas and beta-stability, example isobars
- Neutron drip line and Neutron Stars
- Deuteron potential model and wave function
- Deuteron spin and magnetic moment
- Deuteron total wave function and Deuteron use in PHWR and solar neutrino oscillations
- n-p scattering, partial wave expansion, elastic scattering cross-section, phase shift
- n-p scattering, phase shifts and scattering length
- p-p and n-n scattering, high energy scattering, exchange forces, Isospin
- Meson exchange model and Introduction to Shell model
- The nuclear shell model and the spin-orbit coupling
- The nuclear shell model, spin-parity and magnetic moment
- Shell model predictions limitations, magnetic moments and excited states. Collective models intro
- Collective models: vibrations and rotations. II) Radioactivity: Alpha decays
- Radioactivity: Beta decays part I
- Radioactivity: Beta decays part II
- Inverse beta decay, neutrino physics, neutrino-less double beta decay
- Gamma decays.
- Nuclear reactions generalities
- Nuclear fission principles
- Nuclear fission of Uranium.
- Nuclear reactors for energy production
- Nuclear fusion principles.
- Nucleosynthesis in stars
- Nuclear astrophysics Introduction and phenomenolgy
- Nuclear astrophysics experimental studies and activities
- Nucleon physics at the future EIC Electron Ion Collider
- Rare events underground observatories, nuclear recoils and direct search for dark matter


List of complementary topics for a short presentation at the exam: at most 15 slides and 20 minutes. You can propose a different argument, but it should be discussed and agreed in advance in terms of relevance for the course.

1) Modern theory approaches in nucleon-nucleon interaction.

2) Nuclear models: Fermi gas, Hartree-Fock, relativistic mean field.

3) Resonant absorption and Moössbauer effect, applications.

4) Nuclear radioactive dating techniques.

5) Radiation dose detection and dosimetry techniques.

6) Beta decays and direct limits on neutrino mass.

7) Nuclear Astrophysics, stellar nucleosynthesis, solar fusion cycles, phenomenology and experiments.

8) Nucleon structure and QCD studies at Electron-Ion Collider EIC.

9) Neutrino physics: solar, atmospheric and long baseline beam neutrino experiments.

10) Neutrinoless double-beta decays underground searches.

11) Dark-matter underground searches in direct detection, nuclei response and its backgrounds.

12) Nuclear energy production in fission: 4th generation breeder reactors, Thorium cycle reactors, nuclear fuel cycle and waste, accelerator based systems for transmutation.

13) Nuclear energy production in fusion: thermonuclear fusion reactors R&D, confinement techniques, the ITER project.

Adopted texts


- Online lectures notes and slides available on e-learning course home page.
- Carlos A. Bertulani “Nuclear Physics in a nutshell” Princeton University Press.
- Kenneth S. Krane “Introductory Nuclear Physics” J.Wiley & Sons
- Gianni Salmè “Appunti di fisica nucleare” (in italian)


Quantum mechanics, relativity, basics of nuclear and particle physics

Exam modes


The final exam exam consists in an oral discussion.

The program of the course, lectures notes and slides, support material and references, are available on the Nuclear physics course e-learning home page.

The exam will consist in two parts: you will start first with a short presentation on a complementary topic of your choice (see course program section) for which you will have at most 20 minutes and you can use slides (max 15) or blackboard; in the second part of the exam you will be asked and questioned on two topics among the ones discussed during the lectures. The exam will last for about one hour in total.

The choice of the complementary topic should be agreed in advance with me: you will propose me one article or review, or book section from which your topic will develop, and will validate it before you start preparing it. You can choose among a list of complementary topics (see course program section). If you prefer choosing another topic of yours, please let me know in any case in advance for topic validation and then for the support material like in the general case.

Exam reservation date start Exam reservation date end Exam date
30/01/2022 20/02/2022 21/02/2022
30/03/2022 20/04/2022 21/04/2022
10/06/2022 17/06/2022 20/06/2022
10/06/2022 30/06/2022 04/07/2022
10/06/2022 13/09/2022 14/09/2022
02/11/2022 13/11/2022 14/11/2022
10/06/2022 29/01/2023 30/01/2023
Course sheet
  • Academic year: 2021/2022
  • Curriculum: Particle and Astroparticle Physics (Percorso valido anche fini del conseguimento del titolo multiplo italo-francese-svedese-ungherese) - in lingua inglese
  • Year: First year
  • Semester: Second semester
  • SSD: FIS/04
  • CFU: 6
  • Attività formative affini ed integrative
  • Ambito disciplinare: Attività formative affini o integrative
  • Exercise (Hours): 36
  • Lecture (Hours): 24
  • CFU: 6
  • SSD: FIS/04