What is Matter?

Unit 1 What is Matter?

The resources have been grouped by topic and type in the table below. If a cell in the table has the word 'Yes', there are resources on the topic for that row and of the type for that column. Click on 'Yes' to go to these resources. Click on 'return to top' to come back to the top of this page.  The first number in the brackets is the number of files on this website and the second number is the number of other websites with useful resources.

Topic Context Activities Assessment Useful weblinks
Radioactive Decay and Nuclear Transformations Yes (4,11) Yes (5,4) Yes (4,0) Yes (8,0)
Quarks and Nuclear Forces Yes (3,5) Yes (0,1) Yes (2,0) Yes (12,0)
Fission and Fusion Yes (2,6) None Yes (2,0) Yes (4,0)
Production of EM Radiation Yes (2,2) None None None
Cosmology Yes (2,15) None None Yes (6,0)

The resources on this website have come from teachers who prepared material or found a link that works well with their students. There is much of value here, but as content and technology change there is a need to keep the resources up to date. So if you have a idea you wish to share, please enter details here.

Radioactive Decay and Nuclear Transformations: Context

  • Caro, McDonell & Spicer 1980, Modern Physics, 3rd edn, Edward Arnold, London.
  • Three UK Science Series: SATIS (Science and Technology in Society), Science in Society Readers and SISCON (Science in a Social Context) each produced an extensive range of material across the sciences including radioactivity. These resources are now available on line from the UK's National STEM Centre. See below.

Podcasts from University of Melbourne. See list of relevant episodes below.

  • Episode 143: Dr Roger Rassool, 'Radiation for the rest of us: The alpha, beta and gamma of atomic interaction' Dr Rassool discusses the basic physics behind the radioactivity produced -- and sometimes leaked -- in the production of nuclear power. With science host Dr Shane Huntington. (30 min)
  • Episode 144: Assoc Prof Timan Ruff on 'Waiter, there's caesium in my soup: Radioactive contamination and its health implications'. (30 min)

Podcasts from BBC with Melvyn Bragg. See list of relevant episodes on aspects of Science below. They are 45 minutes.

The Neutrino Rutherford The Curie Family The Proton
Nuclear Physics Cosmic Rays The Neutron  

Audiovisual Resources

  • Marcom Projects: Nuclear physics, Radioisotopes at Work
  • ABC: Catalyst: Radioactivity, Cosmology, CERN

Quarks and Nuclear Forces: Context

Explaining the Higgs Boson

Podcasts from University of Melbourne. See list of relevant episodes below.

  • Episode 131: What seems to be the antimatter?: Where experimental particle physics meets cloud computing'. Professor Martin Sevior and software engineer Tom Highfield explain how commercial cloud computing can be enlisted in the service of answering questions about the origins of the universe. (25 min)
  • Episode 204: What if it isn't the Higgs boson? What it means for our understanding of the universe and of physics if it turns out not to be the Higgs. Presented by Dr Shane Huntington and Dr Serguei Ganjour.

Podcasts from BBC with Melvyn Bragg. See list of relevant episodes on aspects of Science below. They are 45 minutes.

The Neutrino Rutherford The Curie Family Higgs Boson The Photon Radiation
Nuclear Physics Cosmic Rays The Neutron The Proton Nuclear Fusion

Fission and Fusion: Context

  • Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Workbooks, Data Sets and Remote Labs, ANSTO, Sydney, NSW.
  • Caro, McDonell & Spicer 1980, Modern Physics, 3rd edn, Edward Arnold, London.
  • Three UK Science Series: SATIS (Science and Technology in Society), Science in Society Readers and SISCON (Science in a Social Context) each produced an extensive range of material across the sciences including nuclear physics. These resources are now available on line from the UK's National STEM Centre

Podcasts from BBC with Melvyn Bragg. Relevant episodes include 'Nuclear Physics' and 'Nuclear Fusion'. They are 45 minutes.

Production of EM Radiation: Context

Podcasts from University of Melbourne. See list of relevant episodes below.

  • Episode 290: Refracted brillance. How nature produces colour. Physicist Professor Ullrich Steiner explains how nature generates vibrant colors, as seen in many butterflies and beetles, through the structure of materials, and how these properties can be usefully reproduced. Prof Steiner is the John Humphrey Plummer Professor of the Physics of Materials at the Cavendish Laboratory, Department of Physics of University of Cambridge.

Cosmology: Context

Three UK Science Series: SATIS (Science and Technology in Society), Science in Society Readers and SISCON (Science in a Social Context) each produced an extensive range of material across the sciences including cosmology. These resources are now available on line from the UK's National STEM Centre

Podcasts from University of Melbourne. See list of relevant episodes below.

  • Episode 159: Lawrence M. Krauss: 'Before and after the Universe' Professor Krauss discusses how investigating dark matter can shed light on the geometry of our universe, and what this means for our understanding of its origins and demise. (34 min)
  • Episode 131: What seems to be the antimatter?: Where experimental particle physics meets cloud computing'. Professor Martin Sevior and software engineer Tom Highfield explain how commercial cloud computing can be enlisted in the service of answering questions about the origins of the universe. (25 min)
  • Episode 240: Mass nebulous: Our evolving understanding of dark matter'. Cosmologist Dr Katherine Mack delves into the 'mysteries of dark matter, examining the evidence and scrutinizing current explanations of the phenomenon. (29 min)
  • Episode 45: '21st Century Cosmology'. Prof Rachel Webster takes us into the future of cosmology in a quest to discover our universe's past. (22 min)

Podcasts from BBC with Melvyn Bragg. See list of relevant episodes on aspects of Science below. They are 45 minutes.

Dark Energy The Age of the Universe Black Holes Dark Matter The Photon Radiation The Cool Universe

Radioactive Decay and Nuclear Transformation: Activities

Ruhmkoff Coil and ionising radiation

UK schools have an item of equipment to detect ionising radiation from radioactive sources, called a 'spark counter', see link below. It is not exactly a counter, it consists of 'a fine metal gauze mounted about a millimetre away from a thin wire. A (high) voltage is applied between the two so that sparking takes place between them'. For the Vicphysics Practical Activities Workshops, the idea occurred of bringing an alpha source close to the pointed electrodes of a Ruhmkorff coil. However this did not work. Replacing one of the two pointed electrodes with the metal disc electrode made all the difference, with sparks readily jumping from the point to the disc. Many thanks to Paul Cuthbert, University High School for getting it to work.

Quarks and Nuclear Forces: Activities

Radioactive Decay and Nuclear Transformation: Assessment

Quarks and Nuclear Forces: Assessment

Fission and Fusion: Assessment

Radioactive Decay and Nuclear Transformation: Useful Websites

Quarks and Nuclear Forces: Useful Websites

Fission and Fusion: Useful Websites

Cosmology: Useful Websites