Scientists forecast new atom smashers to keep Europe leading in nuclear physics

Dec 09, 2010

Europe needs new particle accelerators and major upgrades to existing facilities over the next ten years to stay at the forefront of nuclear physics, according to the European Science Foundation (ESF), which launches its 'Long Range Plan 2010' for nuclear physics today.

Nuclear physicists are working to understand the origin, evolution and nature of matter that constitutes nearly 100 per cent of visible matter in the universe. As the home of GANIL, GSI, CERN and a wide network of closely collaborating facilities, Europe is world-leader in the field. During the decade ahead researchers are going to build on tackling the big questions: how did matter in the Universe evolve into what we see today and whether this knowledge can be used to help solve energy, health and environmental problems.

"Nuclear physics projects are 'big science', with large investments and long lead times that need careful planning and strong political support," said Guenther Rosner, Chair of the Nuclear Physics European Collaboration Committee (NuPECC) of the ESF. "We can already see where Europe needs to be targeting funds to stay at the forefront. In particular, we need to both upgrade our major facilities and invest in new central research infrastructures offering more intense and rare isotope beams."

The report details three major routes forward for nuclear physics, all of which will require powerful new accelerator facilities. It proposes a concrete roadmap for upgrading existing, and building new, powerful nuclear physics facilities so that funding agencies can target their support.

Rosner comments: "This is an immensely important and challenging task that requires the effort of both theoretical and experimental scientists, funding agencies, politicians and the public."

Nuclear technology offers a source of low-carbon energy as well as its use in and cancer therapy, security detectors, materials studies and artefact analysis. trains people in advanced techniques that are transferred to these industries. Enhancing this skills base will ensure that these organisations continue to have access to the expertise they need.

Explore further: Will rapprochement mean new research collaborations between Cuba and the U.S.?

More information: The 'NuPECC Long Range Plan 2010 – Perspectives of Nuclear Physics in Europe' results from a collaboration of the entire European nuclear physics community. It is available online: www.esf.org/publications

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Europe to build state of the art laboratory

Mar 11, 2008

One of the great ongoing challenges of astrophysics, to find out how stars evolve and die, is to be tackled in an ambitious European research programme. This will involve studying in the laboratory over 25 critical nuclear ...

Argonne, Notre Dame begin new nuclear theory initiative

Oct 05, 2005

Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Notre Dame have begun a new collaborative project to explore and explain the physics of rare nuclear isotopes.

Looking inside the atom for new technologies

Feb 19, 2010

Nuclear physics, which studies the huge variety of nuclei in all the matter that surrounds us, not only provides answers about the evolution of our universe, it also provides the underpinning knowledge needed to exploit nuclear ...

U.S. to fund nuclear fuel center design

May 10, 2007

The U.S. Department of Energy will provide up to $60 million for the design of a nuclear fuel recycling center and advanced recycling reactor.

Recommended for you

Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

Dec 17, 2014

The three prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz in one of the most famous and elaborate prison breaks in U.S. history could have survived and made it to land, scientists concluded in a recent study.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.