Website Detail Page

published by the PhET
Available Languages: English, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese
This webpage contains a simulation that provides qualitative pictures of alpha radiation, fission of a Uranium 235 nucleus, and controlled and uncontrolled nuclear chain reactions. Evolution of the processes over time is shown. Variables such as the number of nuclei and the containment of reactions can be altered to demonstrate the statistical nature of the reactions.

Sample learning goals as well as a teacher's guide for the simulation are available.

This simulation is part of a large and growing collection. It has been designed using principles from physics education research and refined based on student interviews.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.4.2_17 of Java Applet Plug-in.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Modern Physics
- Nuclear Physics
= Nuclear Reactions
= Radioactivity
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Informal Education
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Curriculum support
= Interactive Simulation
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- application/java
- text/html
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Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 license. Additional information is available.
Rights Holder:
PhET and University of Colorado
Alpha Radiation, Atom, Chain Reaction, Fission, Neutron, Nuclear Reactor, Proton, Uranium, nuclear power
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created September 2, 2006 by Gifford Weber
Record Updated:
August 18, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 1, 2008
Other Collections:

ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
(PhET, Boulder, 2005), WWW Document, (
PhET Simulation: Nuclear Fission (PhET, Boulder, 2005), <>.
APA Format
PhET Simulation: Nuclear Fission. (2008, October 1). Retrieved August 14, 2022, from PhET:
Chicago Format
PhET. PhET Simulation: Nuclear Fission. Boulder: PhET, October 1, 2008. (accessed 14 August 2022).
MLA Format
PhET Simulation: Nuclear Fission. Boulder: PhET, 2005. 1 Oct. 2008. 14 Aug. 2022 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PhET Simulation: Nuclear Fission}, Publisher = {PhET}, Volume = {2022}, Number = {14 August 2022}, Month = {October 1, 2008}, Year = {2005} }
Refer Export Format

%T PhET Simulation: Nuclear Fission %D October 1, 2008 %I PhET %C Boulder %U %O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D October 1, 2008 %T PhET Simulation: Nuclear Fission %I PhET %V 2022 %N 14 August 2022 %8 October 1, 2008 %9 application/java %U

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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PhET Simulation: Nuclear Fission:

Is Required By PhET Teacher Activities: Nuclear Fission Simulation - Student Guide

A student hand-out created by a high school teacher specifically for use with the PhET Nuclear Fission simulation. Context-rich questions prompt students to think about what makes a nucleus fissionable and how containment vessels prevent runaway chain reactions.

relation by Caroline Hall

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