Radioactivity and Radiation Interactions (PHYS*3170)

Code and section: PHYS*3170*01

Term: Fall 2019

Instructor: Ralf Gellert


Course Description

This course introduces the student to concepts in radiation physics with underlying emphasis on its practical application in medical physics. Topics include: atomic and nuclear structure, introduction to different types of radiation and their reaction mechanisms, natural and artificially generated radioisotopes, the interaction of radiation with matter, radioactive decay processes, human dosimetry calculations and external radiation shielding. This course is meant to provide the student with the capacity to carry out calculations in this field and provide context to material taught in upper level physics courses.



Tuesdays & Thursdays 
11:30 am − 12:50 pm in 
MCKN 305


Thursday, October 24, 2019
In Class

Final Exam

Monday, December 9, 2019
7:00p - 9:00p
Room TBD

Instructional Support

Instructor:  Ralf Gellert
Telephone:  +1-519-824-4120 x53992
Office:  MACN 450
Office Hours: Tentatively Tuesday and Thursday, 3 pm in my office, MacN 450.


Component Weight
Assignments 30%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 50%

The 5 assignments will be posted on the courselink site typically 10 days before the due date. Late assignments will be penalized with 10% deduction per day and no assignments can be accepted after the posting of the solutions on the course page. Contact the instructor if your submission is delayed to to unforeseeable circumstances.

Midterm and Final Exam

The midterm exam is planned Wednesday, October 24, in class. The final exam is scheduled for Monday, December 9, 2019. Both the midterm and final exam will be closed book. You will be provided with an equation sheet and you are allowed to prepare a one page, handwritten cheat sheet. Only non-programmable pocket calculators will be permitted. Personal communication or entertainment devices (eg. cell phone, MP3 player) are not permitted.

If you miss a midterm examination due to illness or compassionate reasons, you need to provide the instructor with a waiver slip. See your Program Counsellor if you require assistance. If you miss the final examination, see your Program Counsellor. Please refer to “Process for Academic Consideration and Appeals” in the 2019/20 Undergraduate Calendar.

Learning Resources

Required Resources

  • Atoms, Radiation, and Radiation Protection (Textbook)
    James E. Turner, "Atoms, Radiation, and Radiation Protection", 3rd ed., John Wiley & Sons, 2007. The textbook will be used as supporting reading material during the course. It is available electronically as an ebook through the library website, search primo for Turner and radiation
  • CourseLink (Website)
    Class notes, assignments, additional materials and announcements will be posted on the CourseLink Desire to Learn (D2L) website: All students registered in this course have access through their University of Guelph Central Login account. The instructor will also post solutions to assignments and midterms on this site.

Additional Resources

  • Introductory Nuclear Physics (Textbook)
    K.S.Krane, “Introductory Nuclear Physics”, 3rd Edition, Wiley, 1987.
  • Nuclear Physics, An Introduction (Textbook)
    W. E. Burcham, “Nuclear Physics, An Introduction”, 2nd edition, Longmans, 1973.
  • Table of Isotopes (Textbook)
    C. M. Lederer and V.S. Shirley, “Table of Isotopes”, 7th (or 6th) edition, Wiley, 1978.
  • Introduction to Health Physics (Textbook)
    H. Cember, “Introduction to Health Physics”, 2nd edition, McGraw-Hill, 1992.
  • The Physics of Radiology (Textbook)
    H. E. Johns and J. R. Cunningham, “The Physics of Radiology”, 4th edition, Charles C. Thomas, 1983.
  • X-rays in Atomic and Nuclear Physics (Textbook)
    N. A. Dyson, “X-rays in Atomic and Nuclear Physics”, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, 1990.
  • Radiobiology for the Radiologist (Textbook)
    E. J. Hall and A. J. Giaccia, “Radiobiology for the Radiologist”, 7th (or 5th and 6th) edition, Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012.

University Statements

Email Communication

As per university regulations, all students are required to check their e-mail account regularly: e-mail is the official route of communication between the University and its students.

When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons please advise the course instructor (or designated person, such as a teaching assistant) in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. The grounds for Academic Consideration are detailed in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Drop Date

Students will have until the last day of classes to drop courses without academic penalty. The deadline to drop two-semester courses will be the last day of classes in the second semester. This applies to all students (undergraduate, graduate and diploma) except for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Associate Diploma in Veterinary Technology (conventional and alternative delivery) students. The regulations and procedures for course registration are available in their respective Academic Calendars.

Copies of Out-of-class Assignments

Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all out-of-class assignments: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.


The University promotes the full participation of students who experience disabilities in their academic programs. To that end, the provision of academic accommodation is a shared responsibility between the University and the student.

When accommodations are needed, the student is required to first register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Documentation to substantiate the existence of a disability is required; however, interim accommodations may be possible while that process is underway.

Accommodations are available for both permanent and temporary disabilities. It should be noted that common illnesses such as a cold or the flu do not constitute a disability.

Use of the SAS Exam Centre requires students to book their exams at least 7 days in advance and not later than the 40th Class Day.

For Guelph students, information can be found on the SAS website.

Academic Integrity

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity, and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community-faculty, staff, and students-to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring. University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff, and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that encourages academic integrity. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection.

Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

Recording of Materials

Presentations that are made in relation to course work - including lectures - cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a student, or guest lecturer. Material recorded with permission is restricted to use for that course unless further permission is granted.


The Academic Calendars are the source of information about the University of Guelph’s procedures, policies, and regulations that apply to undergraduate, graduate, and diploma programs.


Please note:  This is a preliminary web course description. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  An official course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester and/or posted on Courselink.