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Structure of an Atomic Nucleus

Atoms are smallest possible parts or particles of matter. Inert gases or noble gases are the only elements that do not react and form molecules. Hence, atoms of such gases exist in an independent state. Atoms of these noble gases are deployed for research, often termed as nuclear physics. Atomic Nucleus Explained The word nucleus is derived from the Latin word 'nux' which means nut. The term was first used by renowned scientist Michel Faraday in 1844. He described the nucleus to be the 'center of the atom'. Atomic nucleus or rather nucleus is the central part of an atom. According to research, this part is highly electronically charged and is dense with matter. Protons and neutrons are included in the nucleus of the atom. Electrons, on the other hand, revolve around the nucleus. The nucleus of a hydrogen atom, that is supposed to amongst the smallest, is 1.6 fm (1.6 1015 m), while the nucleus of a uranium atom is 15 fm (15 1015 m). Structure of an Atomic Nucleus The atomic nucleus is primarily made up of two baryons, protons and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are bound within the nucleus with a charge known as nuclear force. Nuclear force is also sometimes referred to as residual strong force. Scientists studying nuclear physics have inferred that protons and neutrons are further made up of matter, known as 'quarks', also known as sub-atomic matter. Strongly bound quarks become baryons and are classified according to their charge, a positively charged baryon becomes a proton while a neutral charged baryon becomes a neutron. Atoms of some elements have a third baryon called the hyperon. This type of baryon does not exist on earth in its natural state. It can, however, be created, and is used in experiments of nuclear physics in a highly controlled environment. Residual Strong Force Residual strong force not only holds quarks together but also binds together protons and neurons within the nucleus. This residual force is so strong that it holds together all protons that have the same charge, even though they try to repel each other. During the process of nuclear fission, when the nucleus splits, this residual force is converted into heat energy. Nuclear Fission In spite of warnings given by early scientists who initiated research of atomic nuclei, scientists today perform what is known as nuclear fission. Nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction that splits parts of the nucleus into smaller parts, thereby completely destroying the original and actual structure of the atomic nucleus. This reaction produces many more free neutrons and also nuclei (plural for nucleus). The free neutrons and nuclei later on produce Gamma rays. This disintegration is the basis for the fission bomb, commonly referred to as the nuclear bomb. If used wisely, an atomic nucleus can be put to very good use like generation of electricity. However, if put to wrong use, like in nuclear weapons, it is even capable of wiping out the entire human race.