Nuclear physics is the study of the atom’s nucleus, which allows humankind to understand the universe’s inner workings. It also aids in providing answers that expound on man’s knowledge of the infinitely small and extremely large. Aside from that, nuclear physics has uses and applications that are relevant and crucial for sustainable development and world peace. This is why its basic concepts should be integral to higher education. To help students better understand and appreciate nuclear physics, they should be enrolled in O Level physics tuition classes.
Different applications of nuclear physics
But first, to inspire and motivate students to want to learn more about nuclear physics, let’s take a look at its many uses.
Nuclear medicine is utilised for therapeutic reasons. Radioactive iodine, for example, can be used in minimal doses to treat cancer and other diseases that impact the thyroid gland. Cancerous growths react quickly and effectively to radiation, which can use a cobalt-60 source (external) gamma beam, or a small gamma or beta radiation source (internal).
Hospitals make use of gamma radiation to make sterile supplies used in medicine, including clothing, gloves, syringes, and tools that would be affected by heated sterilisation. Since this type of sterilisation would be considered a cold process, it can be utilised for sterilising other items sensitive to heat, like ointments, powders, and solutions. Gamma ray sterilisation using a cobalt-60 source is generally cheaper and more effective.
3. Nuclear imaging of disease and functions
In recent years, new nuclear imaging technologies have enabled physicians to diagnose different types of cancers, neurological disorders, and cardiovascular diseases in their early stages. Today, nuclear imaging procedures are non-invasive alternatives to surgery or biopsy.
4. Insect control
Despite using insecticides, agricultural sectors in many parts of the world still complain about crop losses to insects. One of the methods to prevent insect infestation in crops is radiation through the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), which is sterilising large populations of insects using gamma or X-rays, and then mixing them into natural populations.
Radioisotopes are self-occurring atrophying atoms. Its many attributes provide these atoms with various uses across different parts of daily life. The very first application of radioisotopes was discovered when a Hungarian scientist placed small amounts of radioactive material into the food served to him by his landlady, which he suspected was left over from a day to a few weeks. He then utilised a straightforward radiation detection tool to see whether it was radioactive. This was the pioneering example of radioactive tracers, today a staple in environmental science.
Nowadays, nuclear physics remains extremely useful in modern life. It continues to spawn advances in technology and computer science, which are both crucial in the digital era. Modern nuclear physics experiments allow scientists, engineers, and other key industry players to devise solutions to today’s complex problems and improve the quality of life. This is why it’s essential to encourage students to learn more about physics in general so they can make great contributions in the future.