What is the difference between atomic physics and nuclear physics?
Kelley D. Burroughs
Atomic physics is mainly concerned with the electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom. In this regime the Coulomb interaction dominates and phenomena can be explained by quantum electrodynamics (QED).
Nuclear Physics on the other hand, concerns itself with the particles of the nucleus called nucleons (protons & neutrons). In the nucleus there is Coulomb repulsion between the protons but there is also the strong force which keeps the nucleus together. This interaction is not completely understood but there are many models to address it. In the nucleus the leading theory is quantum chromodynamics (QCD) which attempts to explain phenomena in terms of quarks which are the particles that are proposed to make up the nucleons.
Pete Karpius, Physics Grad Student, UNH, Durham
'As long as men are free to ask what they must; free to say what they think; free to think what they will; freedom can never be lost and science can never regress. '