Journal of Chemical Education 76, 349-352 (1999).

Nucleogenesis!A Game with Natural Rules

for Teaching Nuclear Synthesis and Decay



Donald J. Olbris and Judith Herzfeld

Dept. of Chemistry MS #015 and Keck Institute for Cellular Visualization
Brandeis University, Waltham MA 02454-9110



Nucleogenesis! is a simple and engaging game designed to introduce undergraduate physics or chemistry students to nuclear synthesis and decay by simulation of these processes. Each player starts with a hydrogen nucleus and competes to build a silver nucleus by repeatedly fusing his or her nucleus with a proton, a neutron, or an alpha particle, and by occasional reactions with the nuclei of other players. Unstable nuclei that are formed along the way decay via their natural decay paths. By playing the game, students become more familiar with nuclear reactions and the "geography" of the table of isotopes.