Integrated structure and reaction theories for accurate predictions in the FRIB era
Dr. Chloë Hebborn
FRIB Theory Fellow, MSU
Few minutes after the Big Bang, nuclei were already present and ever since their static and dynamic properties have driven the creation of all visible matter. Understanding nuclear properties is therefore fundamental for answering the key questions of how protons and neutrons come together to form atomic nuclei, how these nuclei evolve, and which phenomena emerge under extreme astrophysical conditions. The flagship DOE Facility for Rare Isotopes Beams (FRIB), coming online this year, will allow scientists to advance their search for answers to these fundamental questions by providing unprecedented access to extreme regions of the nuclear chart. Because reactions are diverse probes for unstable nuclei, their rates need to be accurately predicted to refine our understanding, to guide experimental efforts, and to support the interpretation of measurements. Nuclei being complex many-body objects, the description of nuclear reactions using first-principle theories, in which nucleons are treated as active degrees of freedom, is only possible for light systems at low energy. The complex many-body problem is thus usually simplified into a few-body one, in which clusters of nucleons interact through phenomenological potentials, strongly hampering our predictive capabilities. In this Physics Colloquium, I will present my recent work and my research plans which focus on improving the description of reactions through the combination of robust few-body methods using interactions grounded on the underlying nuclear structure and with quantified uncertainty.
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