Scientists develop way to predict properties of light nuclei

May 21, 2008

Scientists have spent 70 years trying to predict the properties of nuclei, but have had to settle for approximate models because computational techniques were not equal to the task.

In the 1990s, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and elsewhere succeeded in breaking through the computational barrier to provide accurate predictions of light nuclei based on how individual neutrons and protons interact with each other. Now they are learning to compute what happens when nuclei collide.

"We have new tools that should allow us to compute nuclear reaction rates that determine how the stars work and how the nuclei around us are made in the universe," physicist Ken Nollett said.

Predicting nuclear properties requires elaborate calculations in light elements such as helium, but it becomes increasingly complicated in heavier elements. Using advanced mathematical models and sophisticated computers, Argonne scientists have been able to predict the properties of elements up to carbon 12.

Extending these calculations to include colliding nuclei will help to understand the origins of the elements and the insides of stars, where such collisions occur. Studies of stars and element production rely on collision properties provided by complicated experiments. Nollett’s calculations will supplement these experiments, maybe even making some of them unnecessary.

"Astrophysics depends on these difficult experiments," Nollett said. "Our calculations should provide another way to get that information."

Source: Argonne National Laboratory

Explore further: Infrared imaging technique operates at high temperatures

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources in starburst galaxies

Dec 22, 2014

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) are point sources in the sky that are so bright in X-rays that each emits more radiation than a million suns emit at all wavelengths. ULXs are rare. Most galaxies (including ...

Scientific instruments of Rosetta's Philae lander

Sep 23, 2014

When traveling to far off lands, one packs carefully. What you carry must be comprehensive but not so much that it is a burden. And once you arrive, you must be prepared to do something extraordinary to make ...

Tests confirm nickel-78 is a 'doubly magic' isotope

Sep 05, 2014

The stability of atoms can vary considerably from one element to the next, and also between isotopes of the same element (whose nuclei contain the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons). ...

Recommended for you

Infrared imaging technique operates at high temperatures

Jan 23, 2015

From aerial surveillance to cancer detection, mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR) radiation has a wide range of applications. And as the uses for high-sensitivity, high-resolution imaging continue to expand, MWIR sources are becoming ...

Football physics and the science of Deflategate

Jan 23, 2015

News reports say that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the New England Patriots in their AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts were deflated, showing about 2 pounds per square inch (psi) less ...

Physicists find a new way to slow the speed of light

Jan 23, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of physicists working at the University of Glasgow has found a way to slow the speed of light that does not involve running it through a medium such as glass or water. Instead, as they ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

omatumr
3 / 5 (2) May 27, 2008
I urge Ken Nollett to study the "Cradle of the Nuclides" that shows the properties of the 3,000 different types of nuclei that comprise all of the visible matter in the universe:

http://www.omatumr.com/Data/2000Data.htm" title="http://http://www.omatumr.com/Data/2000Data.htm" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.omatum...Data.htm

We used the "Cradle of the Nuclides" eight (8) years ago to show that repulsive interactions between neutrons power the Sun and the cosmos.

REFERENCE:

O. Manuel, Michael Mozina, Hilton Ratcliffe, " On the cosmic nuclear cycle and the similarity of nuclei and stars", J. Fusion Energy 25 , 107-114 (2006).
http://arxiv.org/.../0511051

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://www.omatumr.com

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.