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  • richardmitnick 12:50 pm on January 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Nuclear phase diagram, Nuclear physics, , , , Star detector,   

    From Brookhaven National Lab: “Startup Time for Ion Collisions Exploring the Phases of Nuclear Matter” 

    From Brookhaven National Lab

    January 4, 2019
    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-8350 or

    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    1
    The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) is actually two accelerators in one. Beams of ions travel around its 2.4-mile-circumference rings in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light, coming into collision at points where the rings cross.

    BNL RHIC Campus

    January 2 marked the startup of the 19th year of physics operations at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Physicists will conduct a series of experiments to explore innovative beam-cooling technologies and further map out the conditions created by collisions at various energies. The ultimate goal of nuclear physics is to fully understand the behavior of nuclear matter—the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei and those particles’ constituent building blocks, known as quarks and gluons.

    BNL RHIC Star detector

    2
    The STAR collaboration’s exploration of the “nuclear phase diagram” so far shows signs of a sharp border—a first-order phase transition—between the hadrons that make up ordinary atomic nuclei and the quark-gluon plasma (QGP) of the early universe when the QGP is produced at relatively low energies/temperatures. The data may also suggest a possible critical point, where the type of transition changes from the abrupt, first-order kind to a continuous crossover at higher energies. New data collected during this year’s run will add details to this map of nuclear matter’s phases.

    Many earlier experiments colliding gold ions at different energies at RHIC have provided evidence that energetic collisions create extreme temperatures (trillions of degrees Celsius). These collisions liberate quarks and gluons from their confinement with individual protons and neutrons, creating a hot soup of quarks and gluons that mimics what the early universe looked like before protons, neutrons, or atoms ever formed.

    “The main goal of this run is to turn the collision energy down to explore the low-energy part of the nuclear phase diagram to help pin down the conditions needed to create this quark-gluon plasma,” said Daniel Cebra, a collaborator on the STAR experiment at RHIC. Cebra is taking a sabbatical leave from his position as a professor at the University of California, Davis, to be at Brookhaven to help coordinate the experiments this year.

    STAR is essentially a house-sized digital camera with many different detector systems for tracking the particles created in collisions. Nuclear physicists analyze the mix of particles and characteristics such as their energies and trajectories to learn about the conditions created when ions collide.

    By colliding gold ions at various low energies, including collisions where one beam of gold ions smashes into a fixed target instead of a counter-circulating beam, RHIC physicists will be looking for signs of a so-called “critical point.” This point marks a spot on the nuclear phase diagram—a map of the phases of quarks and gluons under different conditions—where the transition from ordinary matter to free quarks and gluons switches from a smooth one to a sudden phase shift, where both states of matter can coexist.

    STAR gets a wider view

    STAR will have new components in place that will increase its ability to capture the action in these collisions. These include new inner sectors of the Time Projection Chamber (TPC)—the gas-filled chamber particles traverse from their point of origin in the quark-gluon plasma to the sensitive electronics that line the inner and outer walls of a large cylindrical magnet. There will also be a “time of flight” (ToF) wall placed on one of the STAR endcaps, behind the new sectors.

    “The main purpose of these is to enhance STAR’s sensitivity to signatures of the critical point by increasing the acceptance of STAR—essentially the field of view captured in the pictures of the collisions—by about 50 percent,” said James Dunlop, Associate Chair for Nuclear Physics in Brookhaven Lab’s Physics Department.

    “Both of these components have large international contributions,” Dunlop noted. “A large part of the construction of the iTPC sectors was done by STAR’s collaborating institutions in China. The endcap ToF is a prototype of a detector being built for an experiment called Compressed Baryonic Matter (CBM) at the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) in Germany. The early tests at RHIC will allow CBM to see how well the detector components behave in realistic conditions before it is installed at FAIR while providing both collaborations with necessary equipment for a mutual-benefit physics program,” he said.

    Tests of electron cooling

    3
    A schematic of low-energy electron cooling at RHIC, from right: 1) a section of the existing accelerator that houses the beam pipe carrying heavy ion beams in opposite directions; 2) the direct current (DC) electron gun and other components that will produce and accelerate the bright beams of electrons; 3) the line that will transport and inject cool electrons into the ion beams; and 4) the cooling sections where ions will mix and scatter with electrons, giving up some of their heat, thus leaving the ion beam cooler and more tightly packed.

    Before the collision experiments begin in mid-February, RHIC physicists will be testing a new component of the accelerator designed to maximize collision rates at low energies.

    “RHIC operation at low energies faces multiple challenges, as we know from past experience,” said Chuyu Liu, the RHIC Run Coordinator for Run 19. “The most difficult one is that the tightly bunched ions tend to heat up and spread out as they circulate in the accelerator rings.”

    That makes it less likely that an ion in one beam will strike an ion in the other.

    To counteract this heating/spreading, accelerator physicists at RHIC have added a beamline that brings accelerated “cool” electrons into a section of each RHIC ring to extract heat from the circulating ions. This is very similar to the way the liquid running through your home refrigerator extracts heat to keep your food cool. But instead of chilled ice cream or cold cuts, the result is more tightly packed ion bunches that should result in more collisions when the counter-circulating beams cross.

    Last year, a team led by Alexei Fedotov demonstrated that the electron beam has the basic properties needed for cooling. After a number of upgrades to increase the beam quality and stability further, this year’s goal is to demonstrate that the electron beam can actually cool the gold-ion beam. The aim is to finish fine-tuning the technique so it can be used for the physics program next year.

    Berndt Mueller, Brookhaven’s Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics, noted, “This 19th year of operations demonstrates once again how the RHIC team — both accelerator physicists and experimentalists — is continuing to explore innovative technologies and ways to stretch the physics capabilities of the most versatile particle accelerator in the world.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    BNL Campus

    BNL NSLS-II


    BNL NSLS II

    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    BNL RHIC PHENIX

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 11:31 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Nuclear physics, , , Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), Theory Paper Offers Alternate Explanation for Particle Patterns   

    From Brookhaven National Lab: “Theory Paper Offers Alternate Explanation for Particle Patterns” 

    From Brookhaven National Lab

    December 19, 2018
    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov

    Quantum mechanical interactions among gluons may trigger patterns that mimic formation of quark-gluon plasma in small-particle collisions at RHIC.

    1
    Raju Venugopalan and Mark Mace, two members of a collaboration that maintains quantum mechanical interactions among gluons are the dominant factor creating particle flow patterns observed in collisions of small projectiles with gold nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).

    A group of physicists analyzing the patterns of particles emerging from collisions of small projectiles with large nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) say these patterns are triggered by quantum mechanical interactions among gluons, the glue-like particles that hold together the building blocks of the projectiles and nuclei. This explanation differs from that given by physicists running the PHENIX experiment at RHIC—a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. The PHENIX collaboration describes the patterns as a telltale sign that the small particles are creating tiny drops of quark-gluon plasma, a soup of visible matter’s fundamental building blocks.

    The scientific debate has set the stage for discussions that will take place among experimentalists and theorists in early 2019.

    “This back-and-forth process of comparison between measurements, predictions, and explanations is an essential step on the path to new discoveries—as the RHIC program has demonstrated throughout its successful 18 years of operation,” said Berndt Mueller, Brookhaven’s Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics, who has convened the special workshop for experimentalists and theorists, which will take place at Rice University in Houston, March 15-17, 2019.

    The data come from collisions between small projectiles (single protons, two-particle deuterons, and three-particle helium-3 nuclei) with large gold nuclei “targets” moving in the opposite direction at nearly the speed of light at RHIC. The PHENIX team tracked particles produced in these collisions and detected distinct correlations among particles emerging in elliptical and triangular patterns. Their measurements were in good agreement with particle patterns predicted by models describing the hydrodynamic behavior of a nearly perfect fluid quark-gluon plasma (QGP), which relate these patterns to the initial geometric shapes of the projectiles (for details, see this press release and the associated paper published in Nature Physics).

    But former Stony Brook University (SBU) Ph.D. student Mark Mace, his advisor Raju Venugopalan of Brookhaven Lab and an adjunct professor at SBU, and their collaborators question the PHENIX interpretation, attributing the observed particle patterns instead to quantum mechanical interactions among gluons. They present their interpretation of the results at RHIC and also results from collisions of protons with lead ions at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider in two papers published recently in Physical Review Letters and Physics Letters B, respectively, showing that their model also finds good agreement with the data.

    Gluons’ quantum interactions

    Gluons are the force carriers that bind quarks—the fundamental building blocks of visible matter—to form protons, neutrons, and therefore the nuclei of atoms. When these composite particles are accelerated to high energy, the gluons are postulated to proliferate and dominate their internal structure. These fast-moving “walls” of gluons—sometimes called a “color glass condensate,” named for the “color” charge carried by the gluons—play an important role in the early stages of interaction when a collision takes place.

    “The concept of the color glass condensate helped us understand how the many quarks and gluons that make up large nuclei such as gold become the quark-gluon plasma when these particles collide at RHIC,” Venugopalan said. Models that assume a dominant role of color glass condensate as the initial state of matter in these collisions, with hydrodynamics playing a larger role in the final state, extract the viscosity of the QGP as near the lower limit allowed for a theoretical ideal fluid. Indeed, this is the property that led to the characterization of RHIC’s QGP as a nearly “perfect” liquid.

    But as the number of particles involved in a collision decreases, Venugopalan said, the contribution from hydrodynamics should get smaller too.

    “In large collision systems, such as gold-gold, the interacting coherent gluons in the color glass initial state decay into particle-like gluons that have time to scatter strongly amongst each other to form the hydrodynamic QGP fluid—before the particles stream off to the detectors,” Venugopalan said.

    But at the level of just a few quarks and gluons interacting, as when smaller particles collide with gold nuclei, the system has less time to build up the hydrodynamic response.

    “In this case, the gluons produced after the decay of the color glass do not have time to rescatter before streaming off to the detectors,” he said. “So what the detectors pick up are the multiparticle quantum correlations of the initial state alone.”

    Among these well-known quantum correlations are the effects of the electric color charges and fields generated by the gluons in the nucleus, which can give a small particle strongly directed kicks when it collides with a larger nucleus, Venugopalan said. According to the analysis the team presents in the two published papers, the distribution of these deflections aligns well with the particle flow patterns measured by PHENIX. That lends support to the idea that these quirky quantum interactions among gluons are sufficient to produce the particle flow patterns observed in the small systems without the formation of QGP.

    Such shifts to quantum quirkiness at the small scale are not uncommon, Venugopalan said.

    “Classical systems like billiard balls obey well-defined trajectories when they collide with each other because there are a sufficient number of particles that make up the billiard balls, causing them to behave in aggregate,” he said. “But at the subatomic level, the quantum nature of particles is far less intuitive. Quantum particles have properties that are wavelike and can create patterns that are more like that of colliding waves. The wave-like nature of gluons creates interference patterns that cannot be mimicked by classical billiard ball physics.”

    “How many such subatomic gluons does it take for them to stop exhibiting quantum weirdness and start obeying the classical laws of hydrodynamics? It’s a fascinating question. And what can we can learn about the nature of other forms of strongly interacting matter from this transition between quantum and classical physics?”

    The answers might be relevant to understanding what happens in ultracold atomic gases—and may even hold lessons for quantum information science and fundamental issues governing the construction of quantum computers, Venugopalan said.

    “In all of these systems, classical physics breaks down,” he noted. “If we can figure out the particle number or collision energy or other control variables that determine where the quantum interactions become more important, that may point to the more nuanced kinds of predictions we should be looking at in future experiments.”

    The nuclear physics theory work and the operation of RHIC at Brookhaven Lab are supported by the DOE Office of Science.

    Collaborators on this work include: Mark Mace (now a post-doc at the University of Jyväskylä), Vladimir V. Skokov (RIKEN-BNL Research Center at Brookhaven Lab and North Carolina State University), and Prithwish Tribedy (Brookhaven Lab).

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    BNL Campus

    BNL NSLS-II


    BNL NSLS II

    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    BNL RHIC PHENIX

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 12:02 pm on December 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Nuclear physics, , , The “perfect” liquid, This soup of quarks and gluons flows like a liquid with extremely low viscosity   

    From Brookhaven National Lab: “Compelling Evidence for Small Drops of Perfect Fluid” 

    From Brookhaven National Lab

    December 10, 2018

    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-8350

    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    1
    If collisions between small projectiles—protons (p), deuterons (d), and helium-3 nuclei (3He)—and gold nuclei (Au) create tiny hot spots of quark-gluon plasma, the pattern of particles picked up by the detector should retain some “memory” of each projectile’s initial shape. Measurements from the PHENIX experiment match these predictions with very strong correlations between the initial geometry and the final flow patterns. Credit: Javier Orjuela Koop, University of Colorado, Boulder

    Nuclear physicists analyzing data from the PHENIX detector [see below] at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) [see below]—a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research at Brookhaven National Laboratory—have published in the journal Nature Physics additional evidence that collisions of miniscule projectiles with gold nuclei create tiny specks of the perfect fluid that filled the early universe.

    Scientists are studying this hot soup made up of quarks and gluons—the building blocks of protons and neutrons—to learn about the fundamental force that holds these particles together in the visible matter that makes up our world today. The ability to create such tiny specks of the primordial soup (known as quark-gluon plasma) was initially unexpected and could offer insight into the essential properties of this remarkable form of matter.

    “This work is the culmination of a series of experiments designed to engineer the shape of the quark-gluon plasma droplets,” said PHENIX collaborator Jamie Nagle of the University of Colorado, Boulder, who helped devise the experimental plan as well as the theoretical simulations the team would use to test their results.

    The PHENIX collaboration’s latest paper includes a comprehensive analysis of collisions between small projectiles (single protons, two-particle deuterons, and three-particle helium-3 nuclei) with large gold nuclei “targets” moving in the opposite direction at nearly the speed of light. The team tracked particles emerging from these collisions, looking for evidence that their flow patterns matched up with the original geometries of the projectiles, as would be expected if the tiny projectiles were indeed creating a perfect liquid quark-gluon plasma.

    “RHIC is the only accelerator in the world where we can perform such a tightly controlled experiment, colliding particles made of one, two, and three components with the same larger nucleus, gold, all at the same energy,” said Nagle.

    Perfect liquid induces flow

    The “perfect” liquid is now a well-established phenomenon in collisions between two gold nuclei at RHIC, where the intense energy of hundreds of colliding protons and neutrons melts the boundaries of these individual particles and allows their constituent quarks and gluons to mingle and interact freely. Measurements at RHIC show that this soup of quarks and gluons flows like a liquid with extremely low viscosity (aka, near-perfection according to the theory of hydrodynamics). The lack of viscosity allows pressure gradients established early in the collision to persist and influence how particles emerging from the collision strike the detector.

    “If such low viscosity conditions and pressure gradients are created in collisions between small projectiles and gold nuclei, the pattern of particles picked up by the detector should retain some ‘memory’ of each projectile’s initial shape—spherical in the case of protons, elliptical for deuterons, and triangular for helium-3 nuclei,” said PHENIX spokesperson Yasuyuki Akiba, a physicist with the RIKEN laboratory in Japan and the RIKEN/Brookhaven Lab Research Center.

    PHENIX analyzed measurements of two different types of particle flow (elliptical and triangular) from all three collision systems and compared them with predictions for what should be expected based on the initial geometry.

    “The latest data—the triangular flow measurements for proton-gold and deuteron-gold collisions newly presented in this paper—complete the picture,” said Julia Velkovska, a deputy spokesperson for PHENIX, who led a team involved in the analysis at Vanderbilt University. “This is a unique combination of observables that allows for decisive model discrimination.”

    “In all six cases, the measurements match the predictions based on the initial geometric shape. We are seeing very strong correlations between initial geometry and final flow patterns, and the best way to explain that is that quark-gluon plasma was created in these small collision systems. This is very compelling evidence,” Velkovska said.

    Comparisons with theory

    The geometric flow patterns are naturally described in the theory of hydrodynamics, when a near-perfect liquid is created. The series of experiments where the geometry of the droplets is controlled by the choice of the projectile was designed to test the hydrodynamics hypothesis and to contrast it with other theoretical models that produce particle correlations that are not related to initial geometry. One such theory emphasizes quantum mechanical interactions—particularly among the abundance of gluons postulated to dominate the internal structure of the accelerated nuclei—as playing a major role in the patterns observed in small-scale collision systems.

    The PHENIX team compared their measured results with two theories based on hydrodynamics that accurately describe the quark-gluon plasma observed in RHIC’s gold-gold collisions, as well as those predicted by the quantum-mechanics-based theory. The PHENIX collaboration found that their data fit best with the quark-gluon plasma descriptions—and don’t match up, particularly for two of the six flow patterns, with the predictions based on the quantum-mechanical gluon interactions.

    The paper also includes a comparison between collisions of gold ions with protons and deuterons that were specifically selected to match the number of particles produced in the collisions. According to the theoretical prediction based on gluon interactions, the particle flow patterns should be identical regardless of the initial geometry.

    “With everything else being equal, we still see greater elliptic flow for deuteron-gold than for proton-gold, which matches more closely with the theory for hydrodynamic flow and shows that the measurements do depend on the initial geometry,” Velkovska said. “This doesn’t mean that the gluon interactions do not exist,” she continued. “That theory is based on solid phenomena in physics that should be there. But based on what we are seeing and our statistical analysis of the agreement between the theory and the data, those interactions are not the dominant source of the final flow patterns.”

    PHENIX is analyzing additional data to determine the temperature reached in the small-scale collisions. If hot enough, those measurements would be further supporting evidence for the formation of quark-gluon plasma.

    The interplay with theory, including competitive explanations, will continue to play out. Berndt Mueller, Brookhaven Lab’s Associate Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics, has called on experimental physicists and theorists to gather to discuss the details at a special workshop to be held in early 2019. “This back-and-forth process of comparison between measurements, predictions, and explanations is an essential step on the path to new discoveries—as the RHIC program has demonstrated throughout its successful 18 years of operation,” he said.

    This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science, and by all the agencies and organizations supporting research at PHENIX.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    BNL Campus

    BNL NSLS-II


    BNL NSLS II

    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    BNL RHIC PHENIX

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 2:53 pm on August 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Nuclear physics,   

    Michigan State University: “Upending astrophysics” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    Michigan State University

    Aug. 3, 2018
    Artemis Spyrou
    National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory office
    (517) 908-7141
    spyrou@nscl.msu.edu

    Hendrik Schatz
    National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory office
    (517) 908-7397
    schatz@nscl.msu.edu

    1
    New heavy nuclei are constantly generated in stars and other astronomical bodies. Erin O’Donnell, CC BY-ND Artemis Spyrou, Michigan State University and Hendrik Schatz, Michigan State University

    Nearly 70 years ago, astronomer Paul Merrill was watching the sky through a telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California. As he observed the light coming from a distant star, he saw signatures of the element technetium.


    Mt Wilson 100 inch Hooker Telescope, Mount Wilson, California, US, Altitude 1,742 m (5,715 ft)

    This was completely unexpected. Technetium has no stable forms – it’s what physicists call an “artificial” element. As Merrill himself put it with a bit of understatement, “It is surprising to find an unstable element in the stars.”

    Any technetium present when the star formed should have transformed itself into a different element, such as ruthenium or molybdenum, a very long time ago. As an artificial element, someone must have recently created the technetium Merrill spotted. But who or what could have done that in this star?

    On May 2, 1952, Merrill reported his discovery in the journal Science. Among the three interpretations offered by Merrill was the answer: Stars create heavy elements! Not only had Merrill explained a puzzling observation, he had also opened the door to understand our cosmic origins. Not many discoveries in science completely change our view of the world – but this one did. The newly revealed picture of the universe was simply mind-blowing, and the repercussions of this discovery are still driving nuclear science research today.

    2
    Technetium nuclei are transformed into Ruthenium or Molybdenum within a few million years – so if you spot them now, they can’t be left from the Big Bang billions of years ago. Erin O’Donnell, Michigan State University, CC BY-ND

    Where do elements come from?

    In the early 1950s, it was still unclear how the elements that make up our universe, our solar system, even our human bodies, were created. Initially, the most popular scenario was that they were all made in the Big Bang.

    First alternative scenarios were developed by renowned scientists of the time, like Hans Bethe (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1967), Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker (Max-Plank Medal, 1957), and Fred Hoyle (Royal Medal, 1974). But no one really had come up with a convincing theory for the origin of the elements – until Paul Merrill’s observation.

    Merrill’s discovery marked the birth of a completely new field: stellar nucleosynthesis. It’s the study of how the elements, or more accurately their atomic nuclei, are synthesized in stars. It didn’t take long for scientists to start trying to figure out exactly what the process of element synthesis in stars entailed. This is where nuclear physics had to come into play, to help explain Merrill’s amazing observation.

    Fusing nuclei in the heart of a star

    Brick by brick, element by element, nuclear processes in stars take the abundant hydrogen atoms and build heavier elements, from helium and carbon all the way to technetium and beyond.

    Four prominent nuclear (astro)physicists of the time worked together, and in 1957 published the “Synthesis of the Elements in Stars”: Margaret Burbidge (Albert Einstein World Award of Science, 1988), Geoffrey Burbidge (Bruce Medal, 1999), William Fowler (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1983), and Fred Hoyle (Royal Medal, 1974). The publication, known as B2FH, still remains a reference for describing astrophysical processes in stars. Al Cameron (Hans Bethe Prize, 2006) in the same year independently arrived at the same theory in his paper “Nuclear Reactions in Stars and Nucleogenesis [PASP].”

    Here’s the story they put together.

    Stars are heavy. You’d think they would completely collapse in upon themselves because of their own gravity – but they don’t. What prevents this collapse is nuclear fusion reactions happening at the star’s center.

    4
    When atomic nuclei collide, they sometimes fuse, forming new elements. Borb, CC BY-SA

    Within a star are billions and billions of atoms. They’re zooming all around, sometimes colliding with one another. Initially the star is too cold, and when atoms’ nuclei collide they simply bounce off each other. As the star compresses because of its gravity, though, the temperature at its center increases. In such hot conditions, now when nuclei run into each other they have enough energy to merge together. This is what physicists call a nuclear fusion reaction.

    5
    Fusion reactions happen in different parts of a star. Technetium is created in the shell. ESO, CC BY-ND

    These nuclear reactions serve two purposes.

    First, they release energy that heats the star, providing the outward pressure that prevents its gravitational collapse and keeps the star in balance for billions of years. Second, they fuse light elements into heavier ones. And slowly, starting with hydrogen and helium, stars will make the technetium that Merrill observed, the calcium in our bones and the gold in our jewelry.

    Many different nuclear reactions are responsible for making all this happen. And they’re extremely difficult to study in the laboratory because nuclei are hard to fuse. That’s why, for more than six decades, nuclear physicists have continued to work to get a handle on the nuclear reactions that drive the stars.

    Astrophysicists still untangling element origins

    Today there are many more ways to observe the signatures of element creation throughout the universe.

    Very old stars record the composition of the universe way back at the time of their formation. As more and more stars of varying ages are found, their compositions begin to tell the story of element synthesis in our galaxy, from its formation shortly after the Big Bang to today.

    And the more researchers learn, the more complex the picture gets. In the last decade, observations provided evidence for a much broader range of element-creating processes than anticipated. For some of these processes, we do not even know yet in what kind of stars or stellar explosions they occur. But astrophysicists think all these stellar events have contributed their characteristic mix of elements into the swirling dust cloud that ultimately became our solar system.

    The most recent example comes from a neutron-star merger event tracked by gravitational and electromagnetic observatories around the world. This observation demonstrates that even merging neutron stars make a large contribution to the production of heavy elements in the universe – in this case the so-called Lanthanides that include elements such as Terbium, Neodynium and the Dysprosium used in cellphones. And just like at the time of Merrill’s discovery, nuclear scientists around the world are scrambling, working overtime at their accelerators, to figure out what nuclear reactions could possibly explain all these new observations.

    6
    Modern nucleosynthesis experiments, like those of the authors, are run on nuclear physics equipment including particle accelerators. National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, CC BY-ND

    Discoveries that change our view of the world don’t happen every day. But when they do, they can provide more questions than answers. It takes a lot of additional work to find all the pieces of the new scientific jigsaw puzzle, put them together step by step and eventually arrive at a new understanding. Advanced astronomical observations with modern telescopes continue to reveal more and more secrets hidden in distant stars. State-of-the-art accelerator facilities study the nuclear reactions that create elements in stars. And sophisticated computer models put it all together, trying to recreate the parts of the universe we see, while reaching out toward the ones that are still hiding until the next major discovery.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:24 am on July 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Calcium-59 and Calcium-60, , Heaviest known calcium atom discovered by MSU-led team, , Nuclear physics, Riken Nishina Center   

    From Michigan State University: “Heaviest known calcium atom discovered by MSU-led team” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    4

    From Michigan State University

    July 11, 2018
    Karen King
    Facility for Rare Isotope Beams office
    517-908-7262
    kingk@frib.msu.edu

    Oleg Tarasov
    National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory office
    (517) 908-7320
    tarasov@nscl.msu.edu

    Researchers from Michigan State University and the RIKEN Nishina Center
    in Japan discovered eight new rare isotopes of the elements phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, argon, potassium, scandium and, most importantly, calcium. These are the heaviest isotopes of these elements ever found.

    Isotopes are different forms of elements found in nature. Isotopes of each element contain the same number of protons, but a different number of neutrons. The more neutrons that are added to an element, the “heavier” it is. The heaviest isotope of an element represents the limit of how many neutrons the nucleus can hold.

    Also, isotopes of the same element have different physical properties. “Stable” isotopes live forever, while some heavy isotopes might only live for a few seconds. Some even heavier ones might barely exist fractions of a second before disintegrating.

    The most interesting short-lived isotopes synthesized during a recent experiment at RIKEN’s Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory were calcium-59 and calcium-60, which are now the most neutron-laden calcium isotopes known to science.

    3
    The superconducting ring cyclotron at the Riken Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory (RIBF)—the largest accelerator of its kind in the world.

    The nucleus of calcium-60 has 20 protons and twice as many neutrons. That’s 12 more neutrons than the heaviest of the stable calcium isotopes, calcium-48. This stable isotope disintegrates after living for hundreds of quintillion years, or 40 trillion times the age of the universe. In contrast, calcium-60 lives for a few thousandths of a second.

    Proving the existence of a certain isotope of an element can advance scientists’ understanding of the nuclear force – a longstanding quest in nuclear science.

    “At the heart of an atom, protons and neutrons are held together by the nuclear force, forming the atomic nucleus,” said Oleg Tarasov, a staff physicist at MSU’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.

    2
    SeGA, a machine used to study rare isotopes, sits inside of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory

    “Scientists continue to research what combinations of protons and neutrons can exist in nature even if it is only for fleeting fractions of a second.”

    Alexandra Gade, professor of physics at MSU and NSCL chief scientist, is interested in the comparison of the new discoveries to nuclear models. In a way, these models paint a picture of the nucleus at different resolutions.

    “Some of these models that describe nuclei at the highest resolution scale predict that 20 protons and 40 neutrons will not hold together to form Ca-60,” Gade said. “The discovery of calcium-60 will prompt theorists to identify missing ingredients in their models.”

    Two of the other new isotopes of sulfur and chlorine, S-49 and Cl-52, were not predicted to exist by a number of models that paint a lower resolution picture of nuclei. Their ingredients can now be refined as well.

    Creating and identifying rare isotopes is the nuclear-physics version of a formidable needle-in-a-haystack problem. To synthesize these new isotopes, researchers accelerated an intense beam of heavy zinc particles onto a block of beryllium. In the resulting debris of the collision, with a minuscule chance, a rare isotope such as calcium-60 is formed. The intense zinc beam that enabled the discovery of calcium-59 and calcium-60 was provided by the RIBF, which is presently home to the world’s most powerful accelerator facility in the field. The isotopes calcium-57 and 58 were discovered in 2009 at NSCL.

    In the future, MSU’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams will allow scientists to potentially make calcium-68 or even calcium-70, which may be the heaviest calcium isotopes.

    The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and MSU.

    This research was featured on the cover in the July 11 edition Physical Review Letters and was selected for an Editors’ Suggestion.

    The National Science Foundation’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory is a center for nuclear and accelerator science research and education. It is the nation’s premier scientific user facility dedicated to the production and study of rare isotopes.

    MSU is establishing FRIB as a new scientific user facility for the Office of Nuclear Physics in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. Under construction on campus and operated by MSU, FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security and industry.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:34 am on March 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Gamma-ray laser, Nuclear physics, , , , University of Jyväskylä Accelerator Laboratory Finland, University of Surrey   

    From STFC: “UK researchers take a very cool step towards a gamma-ray laser” 


    STFC

    28 February 2018

    Wendy Ellison
    Science and Technology Facilities Council
    Tel: 01925 603232
    wendy.ellison@stfc.ac.uk

    1
    The dedicated beamline ready for UK experiments to produce the world’s first coherent gamma rays at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. (Credit: UCL).

    UK scientists are poised to test a new technology that could bring the gamma-ray laser out of science fiction and into reality.

    The gamma-ray laser was once described as one of the thirty most important problems in physics. Much discussed, it would herald a new generation of technology for research and industry, with enhanced applications that could range from spacecraft propulsion, to cancer treatment, ultra-precise imaging techniques, and the security sector.

    A key stepping stone in making the gamma-ray laser possible is the ability to produce coherent gamma-ray emissions. A long standing challenge since lasers were first invented in 1960, coherent gamma-ray emissions have been considered an almost impossible task, until now.

    In a research project funded by STFC, a UK team of researchers from University College London and the University of Surrey have combined their advanced atomic and nuclear physics expertise to conceive a proposal that will experimentally demonstrate that producing coherent gamma-ray emissions is a real possibility. The proposal, arguably the first of its kind, is testable in a realistic way that has never been considered before. It will seek to overcome a number of fundamental problems which have hindered the realisation of a gamma-ray laser. Until now, other proposals either have been testable only in principle, or would require technologies not yet available. The approach of the UCL and Surrey team is instead achievable with current technology. Full details of this fascinating research have been published in Physics Letters B.

    Professor Phil Walker, Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey, said: “It is thanks to recent advances in our ability to make ultra-cold gases, and also in our understanding about the way that nuclei in specific gasses can behave so uniquely, that we have been able to even consider that such an exciting and potentially game-changing experiment could be possible. We could be on our way to being one step closer to solving one of the most challenging problems in physics.”

    This research is no longer just theory. UCL’s Professor of Physics, Professor Ferruccio Renzoni, and his team are now busy setting up an experiment at the University of Jyväskylä Accelerator Laboratory in Finland. Key components, assembled at UCL, are already in place in Finland at the experimental facility. There, a cyclotron particle accelerator will produce the unstable caesium, and the UCL’s laser system will trap and cool it to 100 nano-kelvin, with a view to successfully producing the world’s first coherent gamma-ray emissions.

    Professor Ferruccio Renzoni said: “If the project goes as planned, our experiment in Finland will show that it is possible to produce coherent gamma radiation in this way, and will lead on to further tests that will confirm the best conditions for scaling up to make a practical device, the gamma-ray laser, over the coming years. In the meantime, several milestones in atomic physics and new insights in nuclear behaviour will be available for us to study.”

    Professor John Simpson, Head of STFC’s Nuclear Physics Group, said: “Here in the UK we are making exciting progress in the world’s quest to develop the technology that will make a gamma-ray laser possible. The social and economic benefits of such technology will be dramatic. I look forward to the results that the UK research team will achieve with their international collaborators at Jyväskylä in Finland.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    STFC Hartree Centre

    Helping build a globally competitive, knowledge-based UK economy

    We are a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world. Our strength comes from our distinct but interrelated functions:

    Universities: we support university-based research, innovation and skills development in astronomy, particle physics, nuclear physics, and space science
    Scientific Facilities: we provide access to world-leading, large-scale facilities across a range of physical and life sciences, enabling research, innovation and skills training in these areas
    National Campuses: we work with partners to build National Science and Innovation Campuses based around our National Laboratories to promote academic and industrial collaboration and translation of our research to market through direct interaction with industry
    Inspiring and Involving: we help ensure a future pipeline of skilled and enthusiastic young people by using the excitement of our sciences to encourage wider take-up of STEM subjects in school and future life (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)

    We support an academic community of around 1,700 in particle physics, nuclear physics, and astronomy including space science, who work at more than 50 universities and research institutes in the UK, Europe, Japan and the United States, including a rolling cohort of more than 900 PhD students.

    STFC-funded universities produce physics postgraduates with outstanding high-end scientific, analytic and technical skills who on graduation enjoy almost full employment. Roughly half of our PhD students continue in research, sustaining national capability and creating the bedrock of the UK’s scientific excellence. The remainder – much valued for their numerical, problem solving and project management skills – choose equally important industrial, commercial or government careers.

    Our large-scale scientific facilities in the UK and Europe are used by more than 3,500 users each year, carrying out more than 2,000 experiments and generating around 900 publications. The facilities provide a range of research techniques using neutrons, muons, lasers and x-rays, and high performance computing and complex analysis of large data sets.

    They are used by scientists across a huge variety of science disciplines ranging from the physical and heritage sciences to medicine, biosciences, the environment, energy, and more. These facilities provide a massive productivity boost for UK science, as well as unique capabilities for UK industry.

    Our two Campuses are based around our Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Harwell in Oxfordshire, and our Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire – each of which offers a different cluster of technological expertise that underpins and ties together diverse research fields.

    The combination of access to world-class research facilities and scientists, office and laboratory space, business support, and an environment which encourages innovation has proven a compelling combination, attracting start-ups, SMEs and large blue chips such as IBM and Unilever.

    We think our science is awesome – and we know students, teachers and parents think so too. That’s why we run an extensive Public Engagement and science communication programme, ranging from loans to schools of Moon Rocks, funding support for academics to inspire more young people, embedding public engagement in our funded grant programme, and running a series of lectures, travelling exhibitions and visits to our sites across the year.

    Ninety per cent of physics undergraduates say that they were attracted to the course by our sciences, and applications for physics courses are up – despite an overall decline in university enrolment.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:45 pm on October 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Nuclear physics, , Scientists at Brookhaven Lab will help to develop the next generation of computational tools to push the field forward, Supercomputering   

    From BNL: “Using Supercomputers to Delve Ever Deeper into the Building Blocks of Matter” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    October 18, 2017
    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov

    Scientists to develop next-generation computational tools for studying interactions of quarks and gluons in hot, dense nuclear matter.

    1
    Swagato Mukherjee of Brookhaven Lab’s nuclear theory group will develop new tools for using supercomputers to delve deeper into the interactions of quarks and gluons in the extreme states of matter created in heavy ion collisions at RHIC and the LHC.

    Nuclear physicists are known for their atom-smashing explorations of the building blocks of visible matter. At the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a particle collider at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Europe’s CERN laboratory, they steer atomic nuclei into head-on collisions to learn about the subtle interactions of the quarks and gluons within.

    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    BNL RHIC PHENIX

    LHC

    CERN/LHC Map

    CERN LHC Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

    To fully understand what happens in these particle smashups and how quarks and gluons form the structure of everything we see in the universe today, the scientists also need sophisticated computational tools—software and algorithms for tracking and analyzing the data and to perform the complex calculations that model what they expect to find.

    Now, with funding from DOE’s Office of Nuclear Physics and the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research in the Office of Science, nuclear physicists and computational scientists at Brookhaven Lab will help to develop the next generation of computational tools to push the field forward. Their software and workflow management systems will be designed to exploit the diverse and continually evolving architectures of DOE’s Leadership Computing Facilities—some of the most powerful supercomputers and fastest data-sharing networks in the world. Brookhaven Lab will receive approximately $2.5 million over the next five years to support this effort to enable the nuclear physics research at RHIC (a DOE Office of Science User Facility) and the LHC.

    The Brookhaven “hub” will be one of three funded by DOE’s Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing program for 2017 (also known as SciDAC4) under a proposal led by DOE’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. The overall aim of these projects is to improve future calculations of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the theory that describes quarks and gluons and their interactions.

    “We cannot just do these calculations on a laptop,” said nuclear theorist Swagato Mukherjee, who will lead the Brookhaven team. “We need supercomputers and special algorithms and techniques to make the calculations accessible in a reasonable timeframe.”

    2
    New supercomputing tools will help scientists probe the behavior of the liquid-like quark-gluon plasma at very short length scales and explore the densest phases of the nuclear phase diagram as they search for a possible critical point (yellow dot).

    Scientists carry out QCD calculations by representing the possible positions and interactions of quarks and gluons as points on an imaginary 4D space-time lattice. Such “lattice QCD” calculations involve billions of variables. And the complexity of the calculations grows as the questions scientists seek to answer require simulations of quark and gluon interactions on smaller and smaller scales.

    For example, a proposed upgraded experiment at RHIC known as sPHENIX aims to track the interactions of more massive quarks with the quark-gluon plasma created in heavy ion collisions. These studies will help scientists probe behavior of the liquid-like quark-gluon plasma at shorter length scales.

    “If you want to probe things at shorter distance scales, you need to reduce the spacing between points on the lattice. But the overall lattice size is the same, so there are more points, more closely packed,” Mukherjee said.

    Similarly, when exploring the quark-gluon interactions in the densest part of the “phase diagram”—a map of how quarks and gluons exist under different conditions of temperature and pressure—scientists are looking for subtle changes that could indicate the existence of a “critical point,” a sudden shift in the way the nuclear matter changes phases. RHIC physicists have a plan to conduct collisions at a range of energies—a beam energy scan—to search for this QCD critical point.

    “To find a critical point, you need to probe for an increase in fluctuations, which requires more different configurations of quarks and gluons. That complexity makes the calculations orders of magnitude more difficult,” Mukherjee said.

    Fortunately, there’s a new generation of supercomputers on the horizon, offering improvements in both speed and the way processing is done. But to make maximal use of those new capabilities, the software and other computational tools must also evolve.

    “Our goal is to develop the tools and analysis methods to enable the next generation of supercomputers to help sort through and make sense of hot QCD data,” Mukherjee said.

    A key challenge will be developing tools that can be used across a range of new supercomputing architectures, which are also still under development.

    “No one right now has an idea of how they will operate, but we know they will have very heterogeneous architectures,” said Brookhaven physicist Sergey Panitkin. “So we need to develop systems to work on different kinds of supercomputers. We want to squeeze every ounce of performance out of the newest supercomputers, and we want to do it in a centralized place, with one input and seamless interaction for users,” he said.

    The effort will build on experience gained developing workflow management tools to feed high-energy physics data from the LHC’s ATLAS experiment into pockets of unused time on DOE supercomputers. “This is a great example of synergy between high energy physics and nuclear physics to make things more efficient,” Panitkin said.

    A major focus will be to design tools that are “fault tolerant”—able to automatically reroute or resubmit jobs to whatever computing resources are available without the system users having to worry about making those requests. “The idea is to free physicists to think about physics,” Panitkin said.

    Mukherjee, Panitkin, and other members of the Brookhaven team will collaborate with scientists in Brookhaven’s Computational Science Initiative and test their ideas on in-house supercomputing resources. The local machines share architectural characteristics with leadership class supercomputers, albeit at a smaller scale.

    “Our small-scale systems are actually better for trying out our new tools,” Mukherjee said. With trial and error, they’ll then scale up what works for the radically different supercomputing architectures on the horizon.

    The tools the Brookhaven team develops will ultimately benefit nuclear research facilities across the DOE complex, and potentially other fields of science as well.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 12:14 pm on August 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Basic science research seeks to improve our understanding of the world around us, , , Center for Frontiers of Nuclear Science, , Nuclear physics, Nucleons, ,   

    From BNL: “Research Center Established to Explore the Least Understood and Strongest Force Behind Visible Matter” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    August 22, 2017
    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    1
    In an Electron-Ion Collider, a beam of electrons (e-) would scatter off a beam of protons or atomic nuclei, generating virtual photons (λ)—particles of light that penetrate the proton or nucleus to tease out the structure of the quarks and gluons within.

    Science can explain only a small portion of the matter that makes up the universe, from the earth we walk on to the stars we see at night. Stony Brook University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) have established the Center for Frontiers of Nuclear Science to help scientists better understand the building blocks of visible matter. The new Center will push the frontiers of knowledge about quarks, gluons and their interactions that form protons, neutrons, and ultimately 99.9 percent of the mass of atoms – the bulk of the visible universe.

    “The Center for Frontiers in Nuclear Science will bring us closer to understanding our universe in ways in which it has never before been possible,” said Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, President of Stony Brook University. “Thanks to the vision of the Simons Foundation, scientists from Stony Brook, Brookhaven Laboratory and many other institutions are now empowered to pursue the big ideas that will lead to new knowledge about the structure of the building blocks of everything in the universe today.”

    Bolstered by a new $5 million grant from the Simons Foundation and augmented by $3 million in research grants received by Stony Brook University, the Center will be a research and education hub to ultimately help scientists unravel more secrets of the universe’s strongest and least-understood force to advance both fundamental science and applications that transform our lives.

    Jim Simons, PhD, Chairman of the Simons Foundation said, “Nuclear physics is a deep and important discipline, casting light on many poorly understood facets of matter in our universe. It is a pleasure to support research in this area conducted by members of the outstanding team to be assembled by Brookhaven Lab and Stony Brook University. We much look forward to the results of this effort.”

    “Basic science research seeks to improve our understanding of the world around us, and it can take human understanding to wonderful and unexpected places,” said Marilyn Simons, President of the Simons Foundation. “Exploring the qualities and behaviors of fundamental particles seems likely to do just that.”

    The Center brings together current Stony Brook faculty and BNL staff, and scientists around the world with students and new scientific talent to investigate the structure of nucleons and nuclei at a fundamental level. Despite the importance of nucleons in all visible matter, scientists know less about their internal structure and dynamics than about any other component of visible matter. Over the next several decades, the Center is slated to become a leading international intellectual hub for quantum chromodynamics (QCD), a branch of physics that describes the properties of nucleons, starting from the interactions of the quarks and gluons inside them.

    2
    An Electron-Ion Collider would probe the inner microcosm of protons to help scientists understand how interactions among quarks (colored spheres) and glue-like gluons (yellow) generate the proton’s essential properties and the large-scale structure of the visible matter in the universe today.

    As part of the Center’s mission as a destination of research, collaboration and education for international scientists and students, workshops and seminars are planned for scientists to discuss and investigate theoretical concepts and promote experimental measurements to advance QCD-based nuclear science. The Center will support graduate education in nuclear science and conduct visitor programs to support and promote the Center’s role as an international research hub for physics related to a proposed Electron Ion Collider (EIC).

    One of the central aspects of the Center’s focus during its first few years will be activities on the science of a proposed EIC, a powerful new particle accelerator that would create rapid-fire, high-resolution “snapshots” of quarks and gluons contained in nucleons and complex nuclei. An EIC would enable scientists to see deep inside these objects and explore the still mysterious structures and interactions of quarks and gluons, opening up a new frontier in nuclear physics.

    “The role of quarks and gluons in determining the properties of protons and neutrons remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in physics,” said Doon Gibbs, Ph.D., Brookhaven Lab Director. “An Electron Ion Collider would reveal the internal structure of these atomic building blocks, a key part of the quest to understand the matter we’re made of.”

    Building an EIC and its research program in the United States would strengthen and expand U.S. leadership in nuclear physics and stimulate economic benefits well into the 2040s. In 2015, the DOE and the National Science Foundation’s Nuclear Science Advisory Committee recommended an EIC as the highest priority for new facility construction. Similar to explorations of fundamental particles and forces that have driven our nation’s scientific, technological, and economic progress for the past century — from the discovery of electrons that power our sophisticated computing and communications devices to our understanding of the cosmos — groundbreaking nuclear science research at an EIC will spark new innovations and technological advances.

    Stony Brook and BNL have internationally renowned programs in nuclear physics that focus on understanding QCD. Stony Brook’s nuclear physics group has recently expanded its expertise by adding faculty in areas such as electron scattering and neutrino science. BNL operates the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, a DOE Office of Science User Facility and the world’s most versatile particle collide. RHIC has pioneered the study of quark-gluon matter at high temperatures and densities—known as quark-gluon plasma— and is exploring the limits of normal nuclear matter. Together, these cover a major part of the course charted by the U.S. nuclear science community in its 2015 Long Range Plan.

    Abhay Deshpande, PhD, Professor of experimental nuclear physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook University, has been named Director of the Center. Professor Deshpande has promoted an EIC for more than two decades and helped create a ~700-member global scientific community (the EIC Users Group, EICUG) interested in pursuing the science of an EIC. In the fall of 2016, he was elected as the first Chair of its Steering Committee, effectively serving as its spokesperson, a position from which he has stepped down to direct the new Center. Concurrently with his position as Center Director, Dr. Deshpande also serves as Director of EIC Science at Brookhaven Lab.

    Scientists at the Center, working with EICUG, will have a specific focus on QCD inside the nucleon and how it shapes fundamental nucleon properties, such as spin and mass; the role of high-density many-body QCD and gluons in nuclei; the quark-gluon plasma at the high temperature frontier; and the connections of QCD to weak interactions and nuclear astrophysics. Longer term, the Center’s programmatic focus is expected to reflect the evolution of nuclear science priorities in the United States.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 12:59 pm on January 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Nuclear physics, ,   

    From BNL: “sPHENIX Gets CD0 for Upgrade to Experiment Tracking the Building Blocks of Matter” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    January 13, 2017
    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov

    First step on a path toward a detector with unprecedented capabilities for deciphering how the properties of the hottest matter in the universe emerge from the interactions of its fundamental particles.

    [SEE? THE USA CAN STILL GET IT DONE IN HEP IF WE JUST MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS.]

    1
    The solenoid magnet that will form the core of the sPHENIX detector. No image credit.

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has granted “Critical Decision-Zero” (CD-0) status to the sPHENIX project, a transformation of one of the particle detectors at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)—a DOE Office of Science User Facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory—into a research tool with unprecedented precision for tracking subatomic interactions.

    BNL RHIC Campus
    BNL/RHIC
    RHIC a BNL, with map.

    This decision is an important first step in the DOE process for starting new projects, stating that there is a “mission need” for the capabilities described by the proposal.

    “We are very excited that the Department of Energy has recognized the importance of the sPHENIX project,” said Berndt Mueller, Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics at Brookhaven. “This upgrade will offer new insight into how the interactions of the smallest building blocks of matter give rise to the remarkable properties of ‘quark-gluon plasma’—a four-trillion-degree soup of fundamental particles that existed in the universe a microsecond after its birth and recreated regularly in particle collisions at RHIC.”

    As Brookhaven Lab physicist Dave Morrison, a co-spokesperson for the sPHENIX collaboration, explained, “sPHENIX will be an essential tool for exploring the quark-gluon plasma, including its ability to flow like a nearly ‘perfect’ liquid. The capabilities we develop and scientific insight we gain will also help us to prepare for the coming research directions in nuclear physics,” he said.

    2
    A schematic of the sPHENIX experiment at BNL. No image credit.

    The sPHENIX project is an upgrade of RHIC’s former PHENIX detector, which completed its data-taking mission in June 2016.

    “We’ll be leveraging scientific and financial investments already made when building RHIC,” said Gunther Roland, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the other co-spokesperson for sPHENIX. “But at the same time, the transformation will introduce new, state-of-the-art detector systems.”

    With a superconducting solenoid magnet recycled from a physics experiment at DOE’s SLAC National Laboratory at its core, state-of-the-art particle-tracking detectors, and an array of novel high-acceptance calorimeters, sPHENIX will have the speed and precision needed to track and study the details of particle jets, heavy quarks, and rare, high-momentum particles produced in RHIC’s most energetic collisions. These capabilities will allow nuclear physicists to probe properties of the quark-gluon plasma at varying length scales to make connections between the interactions among individual quarks and gluons and the collective behavior of the liquid-like primordial plasma.

    Conceptual studies and R&D are already underway for key components, including the solenoid, calorimeters, and tracking detectors. The CD0 decision—the go-ahead that enables conceptual design and R&D to proceed—will enable these efforts and set sPHENIX on the path toward an exciting physics program starting in 2022.

    Research at RHIC and the sPHENIX project are supported primarily by the DOE Office of Science.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

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    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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