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From Subatomic to Nuclear Astrophysics - PHY00032M

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  • Department: Physics
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. David Jenkins
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

In this module we will consider some of the advanced subjects in nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics and begin to examine how they are addressed in contemporary research.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

  • The module aims to give the student an idea of current topics of interest within the field of nuclear physics and how they are explored in experimental laboratories. We will look at how the physics that dictates the behaviour of sub-atomic particles can also be used to gain insight into the internal structure of astrophysical objects, such as neutron stars.
  • We will also consider the synthesis of nuclei in astrophysical environments with the aim of developing an understanding of how the elements which we and our surroundings are made of were created. We will discuss nucleosynthesis in various astrophysical environments, ranging from steady state solar interiors to the more energetic conditions found in novae, supernovae and X-ray bursts.

Module learning outcomes

  • Achieve an understanding the relevant theory underpinning the description of gross nuclear properties e.g. masses, radii, electromagnetic moments as well as the structure of nuclear excited states in order to recognise and discuss models such as rotation and shape coexistence
  • Obtain an understanding of the key experimental techniques used to determine gross nuclear properties such as masses and radii and apply this knowledge to analyze, interpret, and evaluate the pattern of excited states in nuclei in relation to models
  • Discuss and explain the gross properties such as masses and electromagnetic moments of hadrons/mesons and properties of excited hadronic states
  • Describe, interpret, and analyse how the abundance pattern of the elements reflects nucleosynthesis in different astrophysical environments and the underlying nuclear physics properties
  • Appraise and critique the experimental techniques used to measure reactions rates relevant to astrophysical processes
  • Investigate and appraise the limits of our understanding and areas of current research activity in nuclear structure, nuclear astrophysics and hadron physics


Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
From Subatomic to Nuclear Astrophysics
3 hours 75
N/A 25

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
From Subatomic to Nuclear Astrophysics
3 hours 75
N/A 25

Module feedback

'Feedback’ at a university level can be understood as any part of the learning process which is designed to guide your progress through your degree programme. We aim to help you reflect on your own learning and help you feel more clear about your progress through clarifying what is expected of you in both formative and summative assessments. A comprehensive guide to feedback and to forms of feedback is available in the Guide to Assessment Standards, Marking and Feedback.

This can be found at:

The School of Physics, Engineering & Technology aims to provide some form of feedback on all formative and summative assessments that are carried out during the degree programme. In general, feedback on any written work/assignments undertaken will be sufficient so as to indicate the nature of the changes needed in order to improve the work. Students are provided with their examination results within 25 working days of the end of any given examination period. The School will also endeavour to return all coursework feedback within 25 working days of the submission deadline. The School would normally expect to adhere to the times given, however, it is possible that exceptional circumstances may delay feedback. The School will endeavour to keep such delays to a minimum. Please note that any marks released are subject to ratification by the Board of Examiners and Senate. Meetings at the start/end of each semester provide you with an opportunity to discuss and reflect with your supervisor on your overall performance to date.

Our policy on how you receive feedback for formative and summative purposes is contained in our Physics at York Taught Student Handbook.

Indicative reading

Jenkins D G and Wood J L, Nuclear Data: A Primer ****

Krane K S: Introductory nuclear physics (Wiley) ****

C. Iliadis: Nuclear Physics of Stars (Wiley VCH) ***

C.E. Rolfs and W.S. Rodney: Cauldrons in the Cosmos (University of Chicago

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.