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THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF ATOM by NAIR MNR

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF ATOM by NAIR MNR

Author:NAIR, MNR [NAIR, MNR]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: BookMedia
Published: 2020-12-05T16:00:00+00:00


Mass of a Proton

: 938.28 MeV

Mass of a Neutron

: 939.57 MeV

CHAPTER 11

SUN, STARS AND BOMBS

The Famous Malayalam Writer Basheer says in one of his stories: ‘If you add one and one, you get a bigger one’. In the case of Rivers this is true, but when it comes to Atomic nuclei the reverse is true. When you add one nucleus to another one, you get a slightly smaller nucleus. For instance, the mass of an atomic nucleus is always less than the total mass of its component nucleons (protons or neutrons). Let us take the Helium nucleus for illustration of this fact:

Helium nucleus consists of two protons and two neutrons. The combined mass of two protons and two neutrons is equal to [(939.6 × 2) + (938.3 × 2)] = 4.032 amu.

However, the mass of the Helium nucleus is 4.0026 amu. That means a mass of 0.03 amu is lost when the protons and neutrons combined. Or its equivalent of 28 MeV is getting released. Nucleus formation through the combination of nucleons is called nuclear fusion.

By the end of the first half of 20th century, the source of energy of the Sun – apparently never ending – was theoretically uncovered, by the Scientists. In the case of Sun, four Hydrogen nuclei (these are nothing but protons) combine to form a Helium nucleus, through Nuclear Fusion. In the process, in addition to the Helium nucleus, two positrons (Positrons are electrons with a positive charge – we will see later) and two electron neutrinos are also produced. The process can be summarized in the equation:



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