Readings and Lecture Notes


Required Textbook

[Yip] = Buy at Amazon Yip, Sidney. Nuclear Radiation Interactions. World Scientific Publishing Co, 2014. ISBN: 9789814368070.

Additional Books

[Saha] = Buy at Amazon Saha, G. B. Fundamentals of Nuclear Pharmacy. 6th ed. Springer, 2010. ISBN: 9781441958594. [Preview with Google Books]

[Turner] = Buy at Amazon Turner, J. E. Atoms, Radiation, and Radiation Protection. Wiley-VCH, 2007. ISBN: 9783527406067.

Session Key

L = Lecture

R = Recitation

Q = Quiz or exam

Part 0: Course Introduction
L1 Radiation history to the present

History of Nuclear Science and Engineering

[Yip] pp. 1–19.

Chadwick, James. Letter: This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader."Possible Existence of a Neutron (PDF)." Nature 129 (1932): 312.

———. "The Existence of a Neutron." Proceedings of the Royal Society A 136, no. 830 (1932): 692–708.

R1 Demonstration: Sputter coater plasma  
L2 Radiation-utilizing Technologies (PDF - 3.9MB)

Background on Nuclear Energetics

[Yip] pp. 23–31 and 33–44; skip sections on Nuclear Spin & Electric Quadrupole Moment.

L3 Introduction to Nuclear Energy (PDF - 6.9MB)

GenIV International Forum / OECD Nuclear Energy Agency. This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.Technology Roadmap Update for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems (PDF - 2.8MB). January 2014.
Skimming through this will give you a flavor for everything nuclear engineers worry about.

The ITER Tokamak
Click through all the parts of the ITER reactor, to learn how a fusion system works.

R2 Demonstration: Tour MIT Alcator C-Mod fusion reactor  
Part I: Energetics, Radioactive Decay, Half-life
L4 Nuclear Mass and Stability (PDF): Nuclear mass, nuclear structure, binding energy [Yip] pp. 51–58; read carefully, and try the practice problems.
L5 Nuclear mass and stability (cont.): Nuclear stability, mass parabolas [Yip] pp. 59–64; read carefully, and try the practice problems.
R3 Deriving the semi-empirical mass formula  
L6 Radioactive Decay (PDF): Alpha, beta, and gamma decay; decay schemes, internal conversion, electron capture [Saha] pp. 11–18.
L7 Radioactive decay (cont.): Decay energetics, general kinematics and the Q-equation [Yip] first pp. 141–9; then pp. 103–4 (alpha decay), pp. 112–5 (beta decay) and p. 118 (gamma decay)
R4 99Tcm, medical imaging, positron annihilation spectroscopy (PAS)  
L8 Radioactive decay (cont.): Activity, exponential decay, half-life

Units of Radioactivity, Half-lives, Examples

[Saha] pp. 18–23.

Derivation of Half-life and Decay Constant

[Yip] pp. 97–99.

L9 Successive decays, statistics, and precision [no slides]

Derivation of Successive Decays

[Yip] pp. 99–103.

Simplified Successive Decay Equations and Examples

[Saha] pp. 23–29.

R5 Demonstration: New and old Cesium source measurement  
Q1 Quiz 1: Energetics, radioactive decay, half-life  
L10 Statistics, Precision, Solid Angle (PDF) [Saha] pp. 27–29.
Part II: Radiation Interactions, Shielding, Energy Loss through Matter
L11 Radiation interactions: Gamma (photon) scattering and absorption, mass attenuation [no slides] [Yip] pp. 201–22.
L12 Visit High Purity Germanium (HPGe) detector in the MIT Nuclear Reactor Lab, to measure potassium spectra of banana ashes (for Problem Set 5)  
L13 Radiation interactions: Ion-nuclear [no slides] [Yip] pp. 223–30.

Quiz 1 review

Myth-busting the Shroud of Turin

L14 Radiation Interactions: Bremsstrahlung (ion radiation losses) [no slides] [Yip] pp. 231–9.
L15 Radiation Interactions with Matter [no slides] [Yip] pp. 184–200, 241–6, and 250–7.
R7 X-ray and proton therapy  
L16 Neutron transport, criticality [no slides] [Yip] pp. 261–9 and 293–300.

Radiation Interactions: Neutronics and Neutron Interactions (PDF)

Effective shielding and detection [no slides]

[Turner] Chapter 15: External Radiation Protection.
R8 Demonstration: MIT reactor power ramping, control rod insertion  
Q2 Quiz 2: Radiation interactions, shielding, energy loss through matter  
Part III: Radiation in Our Environment and Its Effects
L18 This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.Dose and Dosimetry (PDF - 1.5MB) [Turner] Chapter 12: Radiation Dosimetry.
L19 This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.Background Radiation (PDF - 2.6MB)

[Turner] Chapters 4.5: "Natural Radioactivty" and 4.6 "Radon and Radon Daughters."

The Origin of Cosmic Rays

Ackerman, M., et al. "Detection of the Characteristic Pion-Decay Signature in Supernova Remnants." Science 339, no. 6121 (2013): 807–11.

R9 Demonstration: Dosimetry  
L20 This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.Chemical and Biological Effects of Radiation (PDF - 2.9MB): Short term [Turner] Chapter 13: Chemical and Biological Effects of Radiation, pp. 399–421.
R10 Chernobyl safety course recap  
L21 Chemical and biological effects of radiation (cont.): Long term [Turner] Chapter 13: Chemical and Biological Effects of Radiation, pp. 421–41.
L22 Hormesis, linear no-threshold models [no slides]

ICRP-99 Recommendations on Radiation Protection

Valentin, J., ed. "Low-dose Extrapolation of Radiation-related Cancer Risk." Annals of the International Commission of Radiological Protection 35, no. 4 (2005): 1–141.

A Quick Survey of History and Current Knowledge (as of 2003) of Different Models of Radiation Exposure

Prekeges, J. L. "Radiation Hormesis, or, Could All That Radiation Be Good for Us?" Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology 31, no. 1 (2003): 11–17.

A Rather Pointed Criticism of the LNT Model.

Luckey, T. D. "Radiation Hormesis: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly." Dose-Response 4, no. 3 (2006): 169–90.


The Demon core

"Arguing with Greenpeace" debate

L23 Radiation Hormesis: Real or Not? (PDF)  
L24 Food irradiation [no slides] Buy at Amazon Urbain, W. M. "General Effects of Ionizing Radiation on Foods" and "Wholesomeness of Irradiated Foods." Chapters 5 and 13 in Food Irradiation. Academic Press, 1986, pp. 118–23 and 269–75. ISBN: 9780124315853.

Irradiated food party

Quiz 3 review

Q3 Quiz 3