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: Could 'Jedi Putter' be the force golfers need?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Will 2-D tin be the next super material?

Nov 21, 2013

A single layer of tin atoms could be the world's first material to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency at the temperatures that computer chips operate, according to a team of theoretical physicists ...

Quantum world record smashed

Nov 14, 2013

A normally fragile quantum state has been shown to survive at room temperature for a world record 39 minutes, overcoming a key barrier towards building ultrafast quantum computers.

Recommended for you

Could 'Jedi Putter' be the force golfers need?

10 hours ago

Putting is arguably the most important skill in golf; in fact, it's been described as a game within a game. Now a team of Rice engineering students has devised a training putter that offers golfers audio, ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Apr 17, 2014

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

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

More news stories

Could 'Jedi Putter' be the force golfers need?

Putting is arguably the most important skill in golf; in fact, it's been described as a game within a game. Now a team of Rice engineering students has devised a training putter that offers golfers audio, ...

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...