# Filomena Nunes

## Professor of Physics

- Joined the laboratory in February 2003
- Theoretical nuclear physics
- Contact information
- Links

**Education and training**

- Engenharia Fisica Technologica, Instituto Superior Tecnico Lisboa, 1992
- PhD, Theoretical Physics, University of Surrey, England, 1995

**Research**

Unstable nuclei are mostly studied through reactions,

because they decay back to stability, often lasting less

than a few seconds. Reaction theory makes the critical

connection between experiments such as the ones to be

performed at FRIB and nuclear properties or astrophysics.

Nuclei are many body systems of large complexity.

Describing a reaction while retaining all the complexity

of the projectile and target nuclei would be a daunting

task. Fortunately, to describe many direct reactions, only

a few structure degrees of freedom are necessary. Thus,

we develop simplified few-body models that retain the

important features.

Another important line of research in my group is the use

of Bayesian statistical tools to quantify the uncertainty

on our predictions and help in experimental design. The

few-body methods we use rely on effective potentials

between constituents that are not well known. The

uncertainties coming from these effective potentials need

to be quantified.

**Biography**

My interest in physics started in middle school. I had

questions about everything and initially thought I would

be an engineer. I did my undergraduate in Engineering

in Lisbon but realized theory was my real passion. I

moved to England for a PhD in Theoretical Physics. In

research, I started out with halo nuclei and modeling their

properties. That lead to the theory for nuclear reactions of

unstable nuclei and the connections to astrophysics. That

lead to uncertainty quantification, Bayesian statistics,

experimental design...

**How students can contribute as part of my research team**

I enjoy developing new theory, working on equations

and considering their implementation into code. It is

very appealing to me that we are moving nuclear theory

toward a more fundamental formulation, and thus making

the theory more predictive, with known uncertainties.

Equally fun is being able to confront those predictions

with experimental data so we can learn from the data.

To me it is stimulating to be at the place where all the

action takes place! But the most important thing for me

is the interaction with my students. It’s really amazing to

see them absorb so much in a few years and mature into

scientists and then go do great things!

If you have an interest in joining my group, please contact

me. Usually I develop a starting project that serves as a

reaction theory introduction but also allows us to get to

know each other better before jumping into a full-fleshed

PhD project.

**Scientific publications**

- Direct comparison between Bayesian and frequentist

uncertainty quantification for nuclear reactions, G.B. King,

A. Lovell, L. Neufcourt, F.M. Nunes Phys. Rev. Letts. 122,

232502 (2019). - Constraining Transfer Cross Sections Using Bayes’

Theorem, A. E. Lovell, F. M. Nunes. Phys. Rev. C 97, 064612

(2018). - Optical potential from first principles, J. Rotureau, P.

Danielewicz, G. Hagen, F.M. Nunes, and T. Papenbrock,

Phys. Rev. C 95, 024315 (2017).