Nuclear Physics investigates the fundamental interactions governing the world of subatomic particles. Nuclei are the massive tiny core of atoms that give them their identity as specific isotopes of a given element. They are made up of protons, the number of which determine the element, and neutrons, the number of which determine the isotope. These building blocks, protons and neutrons (collectively called hadrons), constitute over 90% of the visible mass in the Universe. They are composites of more fundamental particles known as quarks and gluons. The goal of understanding the structures of nuclei and hadrons has led to the exploration of the fundamental forces, the strong force and the weak force, and their symmetries, which are fundamentally important; the underlying quark and gluonic structure of the protons and neutrons; as well as nuclear matter under extreme conditions.
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