Atomic nuclei play an important role in the evolution of matter in our universe. For many problems in astrophysics, cosmology, and particle physics, the detailed properties of atomic nuclei provide essential inputs to the solutions.
Our group’s research focuses on studying nuclei experimentally to probe fundamental questions about our universe. For example, we measure nuclear reactions, decays, and masses in the laboratory to learn about the reactions that power exploding stars or affect their synthesis of chemical elements. Similar experiments can contribute to searches for physics beyond the standard model of particle physics. In some cases we can use these low energy nuclear physics techniques to directly measure the reactions that occur in stars or to directly search for new physics.
In the near future, our group’s program at NSCL will be focused on measuring the beta decays of proton-rich nuclides. With these experiments, we hope to constrain the nuclear structure details that are most influential on the explosive burning of hydrogen on the surfaces of accreting compact stars such as white dwarfs and neutron stars. Additionally, these experiments can allow us to better constrain the effects of isospin-symmetry breaking in nuclei on tests of the unitarity of the Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa matrix, a cornerstone of the standard model.
Students in our group have opportunities to propose, prepare, execute, analyze, and interpret nuclear-physics experiments at NSCL, to publish the results in leading scientific journals, and to present the results at national and international conferences.
* 2008: Ph.D., Physics, Yale University