Physics Lecture Hall
Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 4:45 pm
Tea and cookies @ 4:30 pm

Alexandra Gade

Exotic atomic nuclei: Probing many-body physics and the origin of the elements

One goal of nuclear physics is a comprehensive understanding of the properties of nuclei from the interactions of the constituent protons and neutrons. This is of critical importance to address two fundamental challenges: Which combinations of protons and neutrons exist as bound systems and how are the elements synthesized in stars and their explosions? This quest for a reliable model of the atomic nucleus is at the brink of a revolution. The limits of nuclear existence can be mapped progressively with measurements of high sensitivity afforded by advances in accelerator and detector technology. An ever increasing range of short-lived nuclei (rare isotopes) becomes available for experiments that isolate specific features of the nuclear many-body problem. This is, for example, critical for astrophysical modeling. First, the models used to predict the properties and reactions of rare isotopes on the various nucleosynthesis paths finally become reliable; second, more and more of the short-lived astrophysical key nuclei and their reactions are in reach for measurements in the laboratory. This presentation will show how experiments today measure complementary observables that advance our understanding of nuclear science and what enormous opportunities will be opened up once the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) comes online at Michigan State University.