The extraordinary power locked in the nucleus of atoms
is shown when the explosion of a nuclear bomb releases some of the energy.
- energy that holds the nucleus of every atom together is called nuclear energy.
- every star in the universe – it can be released either by nuclear fusion or nuclear fission.
- nuclear fusion – it happens when nuclear energy is released as nuclei join together – this same happens inside our Sun and other stars when they are squeezed together by gravity. (diagram)
- nuclei – usually only tiny nuclei, such as those of hydrogen and helium, fuse (join); only under extreme pressure in huge, exploding stars do big nuclei – such as those of iron.
- nuclear fission – it happens when nuclear energy is released by the splitting of nuclei; this method used in most power stations and in atomic bombs – involves splitting big nuclei; such as Uranium-235 and plutonium.
Did you know?
- atomic bomb – energy is released in one second.
- power station – control rods ensure that nuclear reactions are slowed down to release energy; bit and bit (step and step).
How powerful between mankind and natural universe?
- Mankind: Hiroshima bomb at Japan – released 84 trillion joules of energy. (photo)
- Natural universe: Supernova – releases 125,000 trillion trillion times as much. (Messier 1 – Crab Nebula; seen by a telescope.)
Back to The Universe page.