Nuclear physics is an important pursuit because the study of the nucleus of the atom is at the heart of our ability to understand the universe. It provides answers and expands our knowledge of both the infinitely small and the extremely large.
For instance, we have learned that the nucleus exists as a result of relatively simple interactions between subatomic particles known as quarks and gluons. And that these particles form a complex system that makes it possible for us, our world and our visible universe to exist.
But there’s still much to learn about these particles and the forces influencing them.
In learning about the nucleus of the atom and the forces that govern it, scientists develop knowledge, techniques and research tools that can be used to develop a variety of often unexpected, practical applications.
These applications include devices and technologies for medical diagnostics and therapy, energy production and exploration, safety and national security, and for the analysis of materials and environmental contaminants.
Nuclear physics and its applications fuel our economic vitality, and make the world and our lives safer and healthier.