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Dr. Graham Peaslee and I lead the Hope College Nuclear Group. With undergraduate researchers, we perform studies of nuclei far from stability at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) with the MoNA/Sweeper installation and at Notre Dame (ND) with TwinSol and the Neutron Wall. We do research in applied nuclear physics with our 1.7 MV Van de Graaff accelerator. Both areas will effectively involve and train undergraduate physics students. We are also one of only a few liberal arts colleges that has a strong nuclear physics component and is an active REU site.
At this time we are planning a wide variety of measurements. At the NSCL and Notre Dame we will determine the decay energy for 15,16Be, assist with the analysis locating the 12,13Li ground states, examine the ground-state mass of 5H, study the excited states of 9C, and finish the study of breakup cross sections in the 6He + 209Bi reaction near the Coulomb barrier. With the Hope College accelerator, the we will apply nuclear physics techniques to answer interdisciplinary questions including: using ion beam techniques to determine metalloprotein stoichiometry, applying particle-induced x-ray techniques for forensic characterization of glass, using Rutherford backscattering to characterize electropolymers, and determining the provenance of sand grains.
Undergraduate students from Hope College participate in all aspects of these experiments: planning, detector development (including detector fabrication and testing), detector and electronic setup, data taking, offline analysis, and publication of the results. Our experience over the years demonstrates that undergraduate research enhances a student's education and better prepares the student for graduate work or a wide variety of careers in either industry or academia.
The work we do addresses questions about nuclear structure far from stability to refine theoretical understanding. Experiments address the detailed structure of 16Be, 13Li, 5H, and 9C; all far from stability. The questions addressed by the interdisciplinary studies include thin film characterization for ground water sensors, forensic analysis of glass, determination of the geological origin of sand grains, and in-situ measurements protein fragment properties in gels.
Publications by the Hope College Nuclear Group (last updated 3/30/10)