This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
A vast array of elementary particles has been discovered in high energy experiments. The primary goals of this present research are to investigate the properties of these particles, to determine how the particles interact with each other, how the interactions are modified by the environment, and what objects can be constructed by forming groups of these particles. The research involves the very small and the very large. For instance, the elusive neutrino, with its tiny mass, can change from one type to another as it travels through space, but one needs to understand why it appears to do this much more frequently than standard theory predicts. Proposed calculations for neutrino scattering from Carbon-12 should help to understand this result. On a large scale, stars are giant nuclear reactors and the rates of these reactions will be calculated to understand how stars evolve. Sometimes the very small can affect the very large. Some short-lived particles with a property called strangeness may not decay when formed in neutron stars. This would create new, even more dense objects, strange stars. However, to predict what objects can be created, one must have a theory of how the particles interact with each other. This task leads to the area of hypernuclear physics in which strange particles reside inside nuclei. Calculations for the structure and creation rates of hypernuclei will be used to develop these interactions.
This work provides many examples of current applications of physics principles for introductory physics courses. It is also a source of special projects for juniors and seniors and topics for doctoral dissertations. It not only provides research experience in physics, but also in large scale computing. These skills can be applied in many professions.