APS Video on Nuclear Science Division at LBNL

Monday, March 12, 2018

A new video from APS highlights the research of Physics Professors Barbara Jacak and Dan Kasen among others.


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Nuclear Science Division

At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, scientists come together to answer some of the greatest questions in science.  The Nuclear Science Division conducts research aimed at understanding how nuclei, nucleons, and nuclear matter emerge from the strong interactions among fundamental particles. This includes study of the structure and interactions of nuclei, as well as the forces of nature manifested in nuclear matter. The problems we tackle are at the forefront of basic research in nuclear science. We also apply technologies and techniques developed for basic research to problems facing humanity.

In this film, we will talk about neutron star mergers, which were long predicted and only recently actually observed. Using advanced  supercomputers at Berkeley Lab, we can calculatehow they affect  the synthesis of heavy elements.  We will see how a state-of-the-art instrument — the Heavy Flavor Tracker at the STAR experiment  is used to unravel the inner workings of the quark soup that existed in the very early universe. We will also talk about gamma-ray tracking applications and the use of 3-D scene data fusion to survey radiation in the environment, particularly in Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. 

These are just several examples of amazing research being pursued at Berkeley Lab. In addition to the highlights above, scientists in the Nuclear Science Division are doing experiments to determine whether the neutrino is its own antiparticle, measuring the properties of exotic nuclei – either super heavy elements with the maximum number of protons and neutrons, or lighter nuclei with so many neutrons that they are nearly unbound, figuring out what fraction of the proton’s half-integer spin is carried by the gluons that keep it together, and calculating basic properties of the nucleon from first principles on the biggest supercomputers available.