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Binding blocks: Building the Universe one nucleus at a time

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Publication details

JournalPhysics Education
DateAccepted/In press - 21 Dec 2016
DatePublished (current) - 13 Feb 2017
Issue number2
Number of pages7
Original languageEnglish


We present a new teaching and outreach activity based around the construction of a three-dimensional chart of isotopes using LEGO® bricks5. The activity, binding blocks, demonstrates nuclear and astrophysical processes through a seven-meter chart of all nuclear isotopes, built from over 26 000 LEGO® bricks. It integrates A-Level and GCSE curricula across areas of nuclear physics, astrophysics, and chemistry, including: nuclear decays (through the colours in the chart); nuclear binding energy (through tower heights); production of chemical elements in the cosmos; fusion processes in stars and fusion energy on Earth; as well as links to medical physics, particularly diagnostics and radiotherapy.

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