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.

The collaboration, "Advancing Nuclear Theory for a Rare Isotope Accelerator: Nuclear Structure and Reactions for Astrophysics," will include joint research efforts as well as exchanges of scientists, post-doctoral students, and graduate students during the three-year first phase of the program.

Rare nuclear isotopes are extremely short-lived and have not been found naturally since the beginnings of time. The cosmic processes that create the chemical elements, fuel the sun and stars and make life possible on Earth stem from these rare isotopes. The Department of Energy is proposing to build a Rare Isotope Accelerator, which would create these rare isotopes and help answer key scientific questions about the formation of the galaxies, stars and planets; Argonne is a candidate site for that facility.

The Argonne-Notre Dame collaboration will explore the role of rare nuclear isotopes in astrophysical phenomena, including supernovae, colliding neutron stars and nuclear processes, such as solar burning. Many of the nuclei that participated in the evolution of our galaxy have never been made on earth, and theories to describe them are not yet quantitatively reliable.

“Experimental and theoretical efforts in this direction represent great challenges and opportunities for nuclear science in coming years,” said Robert Rosner, director of Argonne National Laboratory.

The initiative will also provide positions for two new postdoctoral fellows, one at each site, support graduate training schools with hands-on research, support research symposia and workshops, and attract distinguished visiting scholars to Argonne and Notre Dame. The initiative will lay the foundation for nuclear theory inputs for specific astrophysical problems and refined theoretical methods that will be of use far into the future. It will strengthen the skills and knowledge base of both the nuclear physics and astrophysics communities and will expand the interaction between them.

The theory groups at Argonne and Notre Dame have complementary expertise in nuclear astrophysics and nuclear structure. Both sites also have strong experimental nuclear physics programs. “Consequently, in bringing Argonne and Notre Dame closer together, this initiative materially strengthens the capacity for growth and productivity in nuclear physics,” Rosner said.

Both Argonne and Notre Dame are members of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics. The initiative's programs will be coordinated with those of this National Science Foundation Physics Frontier Center.

Source: Argonne National Laboratory

Explore further: Cool calculations for cold atoms: New theory of universal three-body encounters

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New method for non-invasive prostate cancer screening

9 hours ago

Cancer screening is a critical approach for preventing cancer deaths because cases caught early are often more treatable. But while there are already existing ways to screen for different types of cancer, ...

How bubble studies benefit science and engineering

10 hours ago

The image above shows a perfect bubble imploding in weightlessness. This bubble, and many like it, are produced by the researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. What ...

Famous Feynman lectures put online with free access

11 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Back in the early sixties, physicist Richard Feynman gave a series of lectures on physics to first year students at Caltech—those lectures were subsequently put into print and made into text ...

Single laser stops molecular tumbling motion instantly

15 hours ago

In the quantum world, making the simple atom behave is one thing, but making the more complex molecule behave is another story. Now Northwestern University scientists have figured out an elegant way to stop a molecule from ...

User comments : 0