Composed of between two and a few hundred nucleons (protons, neutrons) atomic nuclei are many-body quantum systems that display a huge variety of behaviours. At one extreme their internal excitations are due to a few nucleons outside an inert core, and at the other they rotate and vibrate as a collective whole. Because nuclei are complex and behave in many different ways, they are understood by applying a variety of theoretical approaches and models. Examples are the shell model, the particle plus rotor model, the particle-vibrational model, and mean-field models.
The over-arching aim of this project is to study nuclear structure and its impact on nuclear reactions. Under this main goal, several theory projects are available, designed for undergraduate students. Students will learn the basic concepts of the relevant nuclear models and perform rigorous calculations with existing computer codes, and then confront those calculations with experimental data. As an example, one project will focus on evaluating the Coriolis forces acting on nucleons in neutron-rich isotopes studied recently at the radioactive beam facility ISOLDE at CERN.
A background in quantum mechanics (e.g., PHYS2013), an interest in nuclear physics, theoretical physics and computer modelling.