News

deBoer offers new analysis of nuclear reaction data finds holes in a theory about the first stars

Uncertainty over First Stars

Stars are dutiful recyclers. The material used and discarded by one generation of stars is taken up and reused by the next. But that cycling process has trouble explaining the surprisingly high calcium concentrations in stars that formed early on. Astrophysicists have proposed that these old stars were seeded by a first generation that expired in “faint supernovae,” producing calcium but few other heavy elements. However, a new analysis of nuclear reaction measurements suggests that this model may not be so solid [1

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CASPAR collaboration hibernates system

Author: Janet Weikel

Caspar Danrobertson 076 Web

Over the last few years CASPAR has driven forward with its for researching experimental plan. Work has continued through a global pandemic and underground blasting of nearby cavities. Students and faculty have pressed hard to complete crucial experiments before having to pause for extensive nearby excavations. Currently CASPAR has now been mothballed, but still has much to do.

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2021 Graduate Research and Dissertation Awards

Author: Shelly Goethals

Each year the Department of Physics recognizes the outstanding research and dissertation of a PhD graduate. This year the recipients are Erika Holmbeck and Nirupama Sensharma.

Holmbeck Headshot 2021 Physweb
Dr. Erica Holmbeck

Holmbeck's thesis is titled "The Looking-Glass and Beyond: Using Observations and Modeling of Stellar Actinide Abundances and Modeling of Stellar Actinide." She was advised by Professors Timothy Beers

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Physics graduate students receive 2021 Kaneb Awards

Author: Shelly Goethals

Physics graduate students Kevin Lee (advised by Prof. Ani Aprahamian) and Sethupathy Subramanian (advised by Prof. Dinshaw Balasra) are the recipients of 2021 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Awards from the Kaneb Center. 

This award was created in 1999 to recognize graduate student instructors and TAs who demonstrate commitment to exceptional teaching in lectures, seminars, labs, and across the academic profession. The Graduate School and the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning present the award annually to TAs that are nominated by their departments. The award consists of a certificate from the Kaneb Center and Graduate School, a letter documenting the award for the graduate student’s file, a $100 honorarium, and an invitation to a formal event hosted by the Kaneb Center and the Graduate School.…

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Wiescher publishes book on radioactivity

Author: Shelly Goethals

Wiescher

Radioactivity: Origin and effects of a natural phenomenon, Volume I, has been recently published by Freimann Professor of Physics Michael Wiescher

Radioactivity is a frequently and hotly debated topic; the discussions usually revolve around the benefits and dangers of nuclear energy. The topic reaches further -- both in terms of natural occurrences and the many and the multiple applications of radioactivity.…

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Orlando Gomez receives the NSL’s Lamm Award

Author: Janet Weikel

Orlando Gomez

Orlando Gomez received the 2021 Larry O. Lamm Memorial Award in Nuclear Physics. The award is given annually to the student that was deemed to have provided the most outstanding service and dedication to the Nuclear Science Laboratory. The award recognizes Orlando’s continued efforts in sustaining and driving forward CASPAR experimental campaigns, making experimentation possible during the trying times of the COVID pandemic.…

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The HECTOR Detector completes successful 1-year data campaign at CASPAR

Author: Janet Weikel

Hector Caspar

In January 2021, researchers at Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) returned a detector to the University of Notre Dame. The detector, which has been collecting data for most of 2020, is officially named the High EffiCiency TOtal absoRption spectrometer (HECTOR). During its residency at Sanford Lab in 2020, the HECTOR Detector helped researchers better understand how stars form elements. Click HERE

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Reducing nuclear reaction background uncertainties in large mass neutrino detectors

Author: Janet Weikel

Deboer 13can News

Dr. James deBoer (UND) and Dr. Michael Febbraro (ORNL) have recently lead a research initiative to make new measurements of the 13C(a,n)16O reaction at energies relevant for background simulations for large volume neutrino experiments. These new measurements were made possible by pairing the Notre Dame Nuclear Science Laboratory’s new high current Sta. ANA accelerator with state-of-the-art deuterated liquid scintillation detectors recently developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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Graduate student Sensharma speaks at Michiana Science Cafe event

Author: Shelly Goethals

Michiana Science Cafe

Nuclear physics graduate student Nirupama Sensharma will speak on Tuesday, September 29 at the Michiana Science Cafe on nuclear energy. Her talk "Nuclear Energy -- The Better Energy?" will be a Facebook live event. The United States depends on nuclear power to meet about one-fifth of its demand for electricity. This equals the combined total of the generation capacity of two leading nuclear power producing countries, France and Japan. However, we have been standing still for the last 30 years with absolutely no progress in this sector. Is the halt a result of economic, political or scientific reasons and how is this affecting the ever-escalating climate crises? Do we have an alternative?…

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Aprahamian presents at virtual conferences 

Author: Shelly Goethals

Freimann Professor of Physics Ani Aprahamian recently presented at two virtual conferences in Armenia. 

The Armenia Medical International Committee (AMIC) virtual course was held July 12 and had over 650 participants. Aprahamian's presentation was "Isotopes for new pharmaceutical applications." The AMIC consists of representatives from Armenian healthcare associations throughout the Diaspora. Its purpose is to improve healthcare in Armenia through coordination of efforts among our member organizations.…

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Notre Dame nuclear physics professors receive $8.1M grant from NSF

Author: Shelly Goethals

1

A team of Notre Dame nuclear physics professors was recently awarded a three-year $8.1M grant from the National Science Foundation to continue operation of the Nuclear Science Laboratory (NSL) and to continue their research in nuclear physics. The team consists of Profs. Dan Bardayan, Tan Ahn, Ani Aprahamian, Max Brodeur, Philippe Collon, Manoel Couder, Umesh Garg, Anna Simon, and Michael Wiescher. A particular focus of this proposal entitled "Nuclear Physics at the Notre Dame Nuclear Science Laboratory Providing a Window on the Universe" is the study of nuclei and nuclear reactions that are critical for interpreting observations of multi-messengers in astrophysics.  These messengers provide windows on the Universe and elucidate nuclear astrophysics processes occurring throughout.

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