Megavolts Episode 2 – Building Bigger Elements

Tuesday 31 May 2022

In Episode 2 of Megavolts series of videos from the Accelerator Control Room we speak with PhD student Lauren Bezzina about her research into fusion.

In Lauren’s experiments, she bombards targets made of heavy elements, like lead and tungsten, and turns them into an even heavier element – thorium.

Her challenge is to capture the products of these experiments and piece together the parts of the puzzle to understand better how nuclei are put together. The results will give us insights into how to create superheavy elements – elements we’ve never seen before on earth – and add them to the periodic table.

For more behind the scenes info about HIAF – the Heavy-Ion Accelerator Facility – and the Department of Nuclear Physics and Accelerator Applications, visit our online tour. It features 360 degree photos, popups with interesting details, and students and staff dropping in to explain what you’re looking at.

Related news stories

This is the first of the Megavolts series of videos, from the Accelerator Control Room. In this episode Dr Phil Dooley speaks with Dr Annette Berriman about the experiments going on at that moment – smashing lithium-7 into a gold target. The discussion ranges from how lithium is a weird shape,...
This is the first of the Megavolts series of videos, from the Accelerator Control Room. In this episode Dr Phil Dooley speaks with Dr Annette...
Episode 4 of Megavolts finds us in the HIAF experimental hall looking for dark matter with Dr Lindsey Bignell.   Actually, it’s a practice run, using neutrons instead: dark matter detections are likely to be so rare that we need to have the detectors well and truly tested before we begin live...
Episode 4 of Megavolts finds us in the HIAF experimental hall looking for dark matter with Dr Lindsey Bignell.   Actually, it’s a practice...
Today’s visit to the HIAF Control room finds Associate Professor Stephen Tims researching sedimentation in the catchment of a lake in China. It seems to have nothing to do with nuclear physics - but thanks to the nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s, the movement of sediment can be studied via traces...
Today’s visit to the HIAF Control room finds Associate Professor Stephen Tims researching sedimentation in the catchment of a lake in China. It...
New theoretical results about how nuclei break apart could help us to understand how elements on earth were created - for example when neutron stars collide - and could boost efforts to add new elements to the periodic table. Professor Cedric Simenel led an international team that found links between...
New theoretical results about how nuclei break apart could help us to understand how elements on earth were created - for example when neutron...

Updated:  8 February 2023/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster