HMC Physics Colloquium

Tuesdays at 16:30 in Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Room B460

Warren Rogers (’81)

Westmont College

The Study of Exotic Nuclei and its Application to Astrophysical Systems

Dec. 2, 2008

Some of the most interesting questions in nuclear physics research today deal with understanding the creation of the elements in the periodic table in explosive astrophysical systems. Elements that are not created by the "slow" stellar nucleosynthesis S-process are thought to be created by the very rapid and less well understood R- and RP-processes. Our research program at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University is focused on measuring properties of so-called "exotic" nuclei near the neutron drip-line. Properties of this neutron-rich nuclear matter are crucial for understanding these astrophysical processes. A central component of our research is use of the "Modular Neutron Array," which was constructed by undergraduate students from collaborating institutions. Some of our recent results and experimental challenges will be presented.