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ERIC Number: EJ876105
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Learning Nuclear Science with Marbles
Constan, Zach
Physics Teacher, v48 n2 p114-117 Feb 2010
Nuclei are "small": if an atom was the size of a football field, the nucleus would be an apple sitting on the 50-yd line. At the same time, nuclei are "dense": the Earth, compressed to nuclear density, could fit inside four Sears Towers. The subatomic level is strange and exotic. For that reason, it's not hard to get young minds excited about nuclear science. But how does one move beyond analogies like those above and offer a better understanding of the extraordinary world of the nucleus? This is the challenge faced by the outreach program at Michigan State University's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL), a National Science Foundation-supported facility specializing in the creation and study of rare isotopes. It was necessary to devise a model of the nucleus that students could interact with and even use to approximate the nuclear reactions that create exotic nuclei. The solution was to use magnetic marbles.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A