Nav: Home

ORNL Facility May Help Solve Stellar Mysteries

August 30, 1996

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 30, 1996 -- A final milestone reached at the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility (HRIBF) means that researchers from around the world will soon begin using this facility to study nuclei that cannot be produced from elements that exist on Earth.

Researchers today generated the first radioactive ion beam at the Department of Energy (DOE) facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). By this fall, scientists from universities and laboratories around the world will be conducting experiments they hope will answer questions about nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics. The first of its kind facility provides a resource for unique challenges.

"The HRIBF is the only facility in the world dedicated to the acceleration of radioactive ion beams with sufficient intensity and energy to be useful for nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics," said Jerry Garrett, scientific director of the Holifield facility. "It will serve a national and international community of about 300 scientists from 33 states and 20 foreign countries, providing a unique new tool for understanding nuclear matter, the main constituent of the visible universe."

Experiments in nuclear astrophysics will likely account for about a third of the experiments using the radioactive ion beam. These studies will focus on understanding nova and supernova, the spectacular stellar explosions that produce all the heavy elements, including the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen that make life on Earth possible. Most of the remaining beam time will be devoted to studying the structure of exotic nuclei that exist for just a fraction of a second.

Typical experiments will run from a few days to a few weeks, according to Garrett, who said the beam will be available about 2,500 hours a year. Usually, just one experiment can be done at a time; however, sometimes two nuclear structure experiments can run concurrently.

Already, Garrett has received 16 proposals for experiments from 54 researchers at 22 institutions within the U.S. and beyond. Annual beam time is limited because of maintenance activities involving the facility's components, which consist of two accelerators (the world's largest electrostatic accelerator and a cyclotron) and a high-voltage radioactive ion injector.

Workers completed physical construction of the facility in September 1995 -- on time and within budget, Garrett said. Researchers produced the first stable (non-radioactive) beam in late October 1995 and have been commissioning, or fine-tuning, the facility over the past several months.

Reconfiguration of ORNL's former Holifield Heavy Ion Research Facility began in mid-1992 after DOE funded an ORNL Physics Division proposal outlining new physics opportunities obtainable with no major civil construction and minimal cost. A total of $2.6 million was provided by DOE's Nuclear Physics Program Office over a four-year period ending last year.

ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram research laboratories, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation.

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Related Nuclear Physics Articles:

US nuclear regulators greatly underestimate potential for nuclear disaster
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission relied on faulty analysis to justify its refusal to adopt a critical measure for protecting Americans from nuclear-waste fires at dozens of reactor sites around the country, according to an article in the May 26 issue of Science magazine.
Visualizing nuclear radiation
Extraordinary decontamination efforts are underway in areas affected by the 2011 nuclear accidents in Japan.
New path suggested for nuclear fusion
Scientists at Rice University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chile offer a glimpse into a possible new path toward the production of energy through nuclear fusion.
Physics: Toward a practical nuclear pendulum
Researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) Munich have, for the first time, measured the lifetime of an excited state in the nucleus of an unstable element.
Researchers model the way into a nuclear future
The main type of nuclear fuel is the uranium oxide pellet composition.
Nuclear CSI: Noninvasive procedure could identify criminal nuclear activity
Determining if an individual has handled nuclear materials is a challenge national defense agencies currently face.
2-D physics
Physicist Andrea Young receives a 2016 Packard Fellowship to pursue his studies of van der Waals heterostructures.
Nuclear puzzle may be clue to fifth force
In a new paper, University of California, Riverside theoretical physicist Flip Tanedo and his collaborators have made new progress towards unraveling a mystery in the beryllium nucleus that may be evidence for a fifth force of nature.
New approach to nuclear structure, freely available
The atomic nucleus is highly complex. Understanding this complexity often requires a tremendous amount of computational power.
Nuclear physics' interdisciplinary progress
The theoretical view of the structure of the atom nucleus is not carved in stone.

Related Nuclear Physics Reading:

Nuclear Physics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Frank Close (Author)

Nuclear physics began long before the identification of fundamental particles, with J. J. Thomson's discovery of the electron at the end of the 19th century, which implied the existence of a positive charge in the atom to make it neutral. In this Very Short Introduction Frank Close gives an account of how this area of physics has progressed, including the recognition of how heavy nuclei are built up in the cores of stars and in supernovae, the identification of quarks and gluons, and the development of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). Exploring key concepts such as the stability of... View Details

Introductory Nuclear Physics
by Kenneth S. Krane (Author)

This comprehensive text provides an introduction to basic nuclear physics, including nuclear decays and reactions and nuclear structure, while covering the essential areas of basic research and practical applications. Its emphasis on phenomonology and the results of real experiments distinguish this from all other texts available. Discussions of theory are reinforced with examples which illustrate and apply the theoretical formulism, thus aiding students in their reading and analysis of current literature. The text is designed to provide a core of material for students with minimal background... View Details

Theoretical Nuclear Physics (Dover Books on Physics)
by John M. Blatt (Author), Victor F. Weisskopf (Author)

A classic work by two leading physicists and scientific educators endures as an uncommonly clear and cogent investigation and correlation of key aspects of theoretical nuclear physics. It is probably the most widely adopted book on the subject. The authors approach the subject as "the theoretical concepts, methods, and considerations which have been devised in order to interpret the experimental material and to advance our ability to predict and control nuclear phenomena."
The present volume does not pretend to cover all aspects of theoretical nuclear physics. Its coverage is restricted... View Details

Nuclear Physics
by W. Heisenberg (Author)

From the Nobel Prize–winning physicist who developed the famous uncertainty principle, Nuclear Physics provides an in-depth look at the study of the atom. The book was compiled from a series of Heisenberg’s lectures on the subject, and it is detailed and accessible enough for anyone interested in the subject. Heisenberg begins with a short history of atomic physics before delving into the theory of the processes and reactions within the atom. Nuclear Physics is an essential book to understanding the atom, giving readers an unparalleled look at nuclear physics from one of the greatest... View Details

Nuclear and Particle Physics: An Introduction
by Brian R. Martin (Author)

An accessible introduction to nuclear and particle physics with equal coverage of both topics, this text covers all the standard topics in particle and nuclear physics thoroughly and provides a few extras, including chapters on experimental methods; applications of nuclear physics including fission, fusion and biomedical applications; and unsolved problems for the future. It includes basic concepts and theory combined with current and future applications. An excellent resource for physics and astronomy undergraduates in higher-level courses, this text also serves well as a general reference... View Details

Modern Atomic and Nuclear Physics
by Fujia Yang (Author), Joseph H. Hamilton (Author)

The book is the culmination of the authors' many years of teaching and research in atomic physics, nuclear and particle physics, and modern physics. It is also a crystallization of their intense passion and strong interest in the history of physics and the philosophy of science.

The book gives students a broad perspective of the current understandings of the basic structures of matter from atoms, nucleus to leptons, quarks, and gluons along with the essential introductory quantum mechanics and special relativity. Fundamentals aside, the book retrospects the historical development and... View Details

Nuclear Physics: A Course Given by Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago
by Enrico Fermi (Author)

This volume presents, with some amplification, the notes on the lectures on nuclear physics given by Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago in 1949.

"The compilers of this publication may be warmly congratulated. . . . The scope of this course is amazing: within 240 pages it ranges from the general properties of atomic nuclei and nuclear forces to mesons and cosmic rays, and includes an account of fission and elementary pile theory. . . . The course addresses itself to experimenters rather than to specialists in nuclear theory, although the latter will also greatly profit from its... View Details

Nuclear Physics: Principles and Applications
by John Lilley (Author)

This title provides the latest information on nuclear physics. Based on a course entitled Applications of Nuclear Physics. Written from an experimental point of view this text is broadly divided into two parts, firstly a general introduction to Nuclear Physics and secondly its applications.
* Includes chapters on practical examples and problems
* Contains hints to solving problems which are included in the appendix
* Avoids complex and extensive mathematical treatments
* A modern approach to nuclear physics, covering the basic theory, but emphasising the many and... View Details

Nuclear Physics for Babies (Baby University)
by Chris Ferrie (Author), Cara Florance (Author)

Simple explanations of complex ideas for your future genius!

Written by an expert, Nuclear Physics for Babies is a colorfully simple introduction to what goes on in the center of atoms. Babies (and grownups!) will learn all about the nucleus and the amazing process of nuclear decay. Co-written by Cara Florance, who has a PhD in Biochemistry and a BS in Chemistry with work experience in astrobiololgy and radiation decontamination. With a tongue-in-cheek approach that adults will love, this installment of the Baby University board book series is the perfect... View Details

Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction
by Frank Close (Author)

In Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction, best-selling author Frank Close provides a compelling and lively introduction to the fundamental particles that make up the universe. The book begins with a guide to what matter is made up of and how it evolved, and goes on to describe the fascinating and cutting-edge techniques used to study it. The author discusses particles such as quarks, electrons, and the neutrino, and exotic matter and antimatter. He also investigates the forces of nature, accelerators and detectors, and the intriguing future of particle physics. This book is... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Attention Please
In an age of constant information and infinite distractions, how can we pay more attention to our ... attention? This hour, TED speakers explore the battle for our awareness during the digital age. Guests include sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, podcast host Manoush Zomorodi, neuroscientist Amishi Jha, designer Tristan Harris, and computer scientist Jaron Lanier.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#475 Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning how deadly and delightful our planet and its ecosystem can be. We're joined by biologist Dan Riskin, co-host of Discovery Canada's Daily Planet, to talk about his book "Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You: a Lively Tour Through the Dark Side of the Natural World." And we'll talk to astronomer and author Phil Plait about Science Getaways, his company that offers educational vacation experiences for science lovers.