Professor of Physics,
Associate Director for Experimental Nuclear Science (NSCL)
Interim Associate Director for Education (NSCL)
NSCL and Dept. of Physics & Astronomy,
Michigan State University
From Designer Nuclei to Stellar Explosions: A new era in experimental nuclear science at FRIB
The construction of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) opens the way for a wide variety of experiments with unstable nuclei that will revolutionize our understanding of the forces that bind nucleons into nuclei, and that are key to understanding the formation of elements in the universe. At FRIB it will be possible to more than double the number of nuclei available for experimental research. This will greatly expand our knowledge of fundamental properties of nuclei, and for the development of comprehensive theories that aim to describe these properties, even under the conditions only present in the most extreme conditions, such as in the cores of massive stars prior to cataclysmic explosions or in the extreme environments of a neutron star. At the same time, the availability of a relatively large number of isotopes at FRIB allows for the development of new societal applications - for example, new techniques are being developed to "harvest" isotopes for medical and/or material science research. In the presentation, an overview of FRIB, and the scientific opportunities it brings will be presented. As an example, the development of experiments and theories to describe weak reactions in stellar environments (electron captures and neutrino scattering) will be discussed, including the path from present-day, state-of-the-art experiments to novel equipment and techniques at FRIB.