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Nuclear Physics Masterclass: Online

Join the Department of Physics at the University of York and leading experts from all over the world for a Nuclear Masterclass.  Find out more about cutting-edge research in Nuclear Physics and applications of nuclear technologies.

This four-week programme is suitable for students studying Physics in years 11, 12 and 13 (S5 and S6 in Scotland) and allows for flexible learning in or out of the classroom.


  • The Masterclass is open to all students studying Physics in years 11, 12, and 13 / S4, S5 and S6 in Scotland, (ages 15-18).
  • Four week programme with 3-5 hours content per week, starting on Monday 22 June.
  • Live webinars with leading experts weekly.  Recording available after the event.  
  • Ask questions of experts live during the weekly webinar and throughout the week through a forum.  
  • Complete all activities and receive a certificate of participation.
  • Work at your own pace - content available from Monday 22 June (9am) - Friday 31 July (5pm)

Week 1: Building the Universe one Nucleus at a Time

  • Discover the nuclear chart of the isotopes with a 3D fly-through and find out more about the building blocks of our Universe.
  • Follow nuclear decay chains, explore the concept and applications of binding energy, and investigate half-lives.
  • Optional activity to explore the 3D nuclear isotopes chart in Minecraft.

Week 2: Nuclear Astrophysics

  • Explore the Hot CNO Cycle: Discover the nuclear reactions happening in stars during stellar explosions, in particular on the surface of neutron stars, in an activity demonstrating half-lives and the random nature of radioactive decay.
  • Investigate a computer simulation of the liquid drop model of nuclei and apply this to the formation of neutron stars. Learn about the influence of the fundamental forces at the nuclear scale.

Week 3: Fusion Technology

  • Find out about methods of creating nuclear fusion as a power source - from lasers to tokamaks. Investigate how the most extreme conditions in the Solar System are created in a laboratory setting, and how materials are designed to withstand such temperatures and pressures.
  • Explore research labs through virtual tours.

Week 4: Medical Physics

  • Hear from a medical physicist about how nuclear physics shaped her career.  
  • Find out how PET scanners work and discover how cutting-edge research into quantum entanglement is making these more effective.
  • Use computer modeling to investigate proton-therapy and see if you can optimise cancer treatments.

Weekly schedule from Monday 22nd June to Friday 17th July:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9am Weekly materials and questions released        
11am-12pm Online Forum Online Forum Online Forum Online Forum Online Forum
4:30pm-5:30pm Live Webinar Online Forum Online Forum Online Forum Online Forum
  • The online forums will also run 11am - 12pm and 4:30pm - 5:30pm for a further two weeks (from Monday 20th July to Friday 31st July).