Hansen Postdoctoral Fellow collaborates with FRIB scientists

Sylvester Agbemava joined the FRIB Laboratory as a P. Gregers Hansen Postdoctoral Fellow in October 2020. During his time at the laboratory, Agbemava has worked with the nuclear theorists at FRIB to share ideas and form collaborations with other scientists while studying the mechanism of nuclear fission and properties of superheavy nuclei.

“FRIB is a world-class research institution with many unique opportunities for young nuclear scientists,” said Agbemava.

Agbemava earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Cape Coast in Cape Coast, Ghana, and earned his master’s degree in physics and his PhD in applied engineering from Mississippi State University. He is a research scientist with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission at the National Nuclear Research Institute of the National Reactors Research Centre in Ghana, West Africa. The institute’s mission is to promote and strengthen nuclear science and technology research, training and development for the socio-economic development of Ghana.

“The P. Gregers Hansen Postdoctoral Fellow brings outstanding postdoctoral researchers to the FRIB Laboratory to collaborate with the top scientists in the world,” said FRIB Laboratory Director Thomas Glasmacher. “We are excited to have Sylvester at FRIB, and we look forward to his collaboration with FRIB scientists.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has not allowed for face-to-face meetings with his colleagues at FRIB, Agbemava said he is enjoying regularly scheduled virtual meetings. He meets with his supervisor, Witek Nazarewicz, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Physics and chief scientist at FRIB, twice a week to discuss his research progress. He also meets virtually with his other colleagues at the laboratory. Agbemava said he is enjoying being able to develop relationships with his colleagues as they meet virtually to discuss research issues.

As part of his fellowship, Agbemava will carry out his own research program, supervise students as they conduct their research, and have his results published. He is also an active member of the Theory department.

“We are delighted bringing Sylvester to MSU and to our theory group,” said Nazarewicz. “His expertise in density functional theory, global properties of atomic nuclei, and fission is extremely valuable to our research and the FRIB scientific program.”

“It is an honor to be selected as a Hansen Fellow,” said Agbemava. “As a person from a developing country (Ghana), such opportunities are hard to come by. This gives me the avenue to broaden my knowledge in nuclear science to be able to help future scientists in my area of study.”

Agbemava’s research studies the microscopic mechanism of nuclear fission, especially in the context of neutron rich nuclei that play an important role in the astrophysical processes.

“By working with some of the world’s best scientists at FRIB, it will help prepare me for my future career as a research scientist in nuclear physics,” said Agbemava.

Michigan State University (MSU) establishes and operates FRIB as a user facility for the Office of Nuclear Physics in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. Hosting the most powerful heavy-ion accelerator, FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security, and industry.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of today’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit energy.gov/science.