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: IHEP in China has ambitions for Higgs factory

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The first building blocks of the universe

May 14, 2014

The first galaxies evolved only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. But why do they have such a great variety of shapes and structures? How did the universe evolve as a whole? Two German-Chinese ...

Recommended for you

Chemist develops X-ray vision for quality assurance

2 hours ago

It is seldom sufficient to read the declaration of contents if you need to know precisely what substances a product contains. In fact, to do this you need to be a highly skilled chemist or to have genuine ...

The future of ultrashort laser pulses

2 hours ago

Rapid advances in techniques for the creation of ultra-short laser pulses promise to boost our knowledge of electron motions to an unprecedented level.

IHEP in China has ambitions for Higgs factory

19 hours ago

Who will lay claim to having the world's largest particle smasher?. Could China become the collider capital of the world? Questions tease answers, following a news story in Nature on Tuesday. Proposals for ...

The physics of lead guitar playing

21 hours ago

String bends, tapping, vibrato and whammy bars are all techniques that add to the distinctiveness of a lead guitarist's sound, whether it's Clapton, Hendrix, or BB King.

The birth of topological spintronics

22 hours ago

The discovery of a new material combination that could lead to a more efficient approach to computer memory and logic will be described in the journal Nature on July 24, 2014. The research, led by Penn S ...

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