Nuclear Physics

Experimental Nuclear and Particle Physics

The Department of Physics has an active and widely recognized program in Nuclear and Particle Physics. The majority of our present experimental programs is focused at Jefferson Laboratory in Newport News, Virginia, which is an international center for nuclear physics research. In addition, we are engaged in a program of fundamental physics using cold neutrons at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge national Laboratories.

Nuclear and High Energy Theory

The research of the nuclear and high energy theory group ranges from the study of nuclear structure and Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) to string theory. Prof. Heisenberg's nuclear structure simulation project explores how shapes, sizes, and interior density distributions of normal nuclei arise from the known forces between nucleons. Computer codes keep track of how strongly each combination of two particles interact with each other in all possible configurations. They also include the effects of how a third particle nearby can modify the force between those two particles. The stable configurations of nuclei assembled from sixteen particles can be calculated from all these interactions, two (or three) at a time. His program excels at determining and comparing the spatial relationships between the nucleons in the various low-lying nuclear energy levels.