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Nuclear Physics in a Nutshell by Carlos A. Bertulani

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Introduction

0.1 What is Nuclear Physics?

The most accepted theory for the origin of the universe assumes that it resulted from a great explosion, soon after which the primordial matter was extremely dense, compressed and hot. This matter was mainly composed of elementary particles, such as quarks and electrons. As it expanded and cooled down, the quarks united to form heavier particles, called hadrons, which contain 3 quarks (baryons) or 2 quarks (mesons). The protons and neutrons (which are baryons) formed nuclei, and the electrons were captured in orbits around the nuclei forming atoms.

The larger and heavier nuclei were created inside stars, which were formed by the collection of large amounts of the primordial matter. Some of those stars ...

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