From nuclei to neutron stars: simple binding energy computer modelling in the classroom (Part 1): https://arxiv.org/abs/2007.06872
A. Pastore, A. M. Romero, C. Diget, A. Rios, K. Leech, P. Stokoe
We present a simple activity based on the liquid-drop model which allows secondary school students to explore the uses of mathematical models and gain an intuitive understanding of the concept of binding energy, and in particular the significance of positive binding energy. Using spreadsheets provided as Supplementary Material, students can perform simple manipulations on the different coefficients of the model to understand the role of each of its five terms. Students can use the spreadsheets to determine model parameters by optimising the agreement with real atomic mass data. %This will subsequently be used to predict the limit of existence of the Segré chart and to find the minimum mass of a neutron star. This activity can be used as the starting point of a discussion about theoretical models, their validation when it comes to describing experimental data and their predictive power towards unexplored regimes.
Comments: Published Physics Education 56 (3), 035012
From nuclei to neutron stars: simple binding energy computer modelling in the classroom (part 2): https://arxiv.org/abs/2104.12449
A. Rios, A. Pastore, C. Diget, A. M. Romero, K. Leech, P. Stokoe
We introduce two simple online activities to explore the physics of neutron stars. These provide an introduction to the basic properties of compact objects, like their masses and radii, for secondary school students. The first activity explores the idea of the minimum mass of a neutron star. It is directly linked to the concept of binding energy and follows on from our previous activities. The second activity focuses on the maximum mass of neutron stars using a solvable model of the neutron star interior. The activities are based on spreadsheets, provided as Supplementary Material, and can be easily adapted to different levels, age groups and discussion topics. In particular, these activities can naturally lead towards discussions on extrapolations and limits of theoretical models.
Comments: This submission is a follow-up of Part 1 in arXiv:2007.06872, published as A Pastore et al 2021 Phys. Educ. 56 035012 in this https URL. Worksheet attached in Excel file