B.S. (1974), and Ph.D. (1982), in Physics, Michigan State University
Office: Dow 224
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Programs and Goals:
Most sciences regard the nucleus of an atom as a tiny positively charged lump whose sole function is to provide the atom with most of its mass and to hold its clouds of electrons in place. Since the behavior of atomic electrons is responsible for the behavior of matter in bulk, the properties of matter, save for mass, have nothing directly to do with atomic nuclei. However, for all its seeming passivity, the nucleus turns out to be of supreme importance in the universe. The chemical elements exist by virtue of the ability of nuclei to possess multiple electric charges, and the energy that is involved in nearly all natural processes has it ultimate origin in nuclear reactions and transformations. Only in the past half-century have tools been available for investigating nuclei in detail and their many mysteries are still being plumbed.
In a typical nuclear physics experiment, an accelerator is used to produce an extremely high energy beam of charged particles. The beam is directed at a target and the characteristics of the scattered beam are measured to obtain information about the target nuclei. The measuring devices are sophisticated electronic detectors whose signals are fed into computers, which allow immediate visualization of the data. The research I conduct uses this standard set up to measure the characteristics of a collision between a heavy ion projectile and a target nucleus.
When the target nucleus is struck by these high energy projectiles, it absorbs some of the energy and goes into an excited state. The most common excitation modes are achieved by promoting a proton or a neutron to a higher shell orbital in the target nucleus. The energy of excited states is determined by how the excited particle or resultant hole interacts with the core of the nucleus. By measuring the properties of these excited states, information about the nuclear projectile, nuclear target, and nuclear excited state can be extracted.
The facilities available for me to conduct experiments are all national laboratories: the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at Michigan State University; the Grand Accelerateur National D'ions Lourds (GANIL) in Caen, France; and the Institut de Physique Nucléaire Tamdem Accelerator in Orsay, France.
All experimental nuclear physics projects involve several stages: proposing the experiment, preparing the experiment, conducting the experiment, reducing data, analyzing data, and preparing a paper for publication. The actual experiments run continuously for 5-7 days. The complexity, duration, and expense of modern day nuclear physics experiments have naturally led to the formation of research teams. I collaborate with scientists from MSU, France, Italy, England, Finland, and Brazil.
Recent Publications and Presentations:
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Department of Physics at Central Michigan University
This document was last modified on: December 20, 2000