User community focuses on realizing full scientific potential of national user facilities and reinforcing commitment to foster diverse scientific workforce

11 August 2022

Argonne National Laboratory hosted the 2022 Low Energy Community Meeting (LECM) 8-10 August. Over the course of the three days, more than 300 members of the low-energy nuclear physics community attended the meeting, with 125 participating in person. The participants were from more than 71 institutions and more than 12 countries.

LECM included plenary sessions, 13 working group sessions, and two workshops: a SEparator for CApture Reactions (SECAR) collaboration workshop and a Gamma-Ray Energy Tracking In-beam Nuclear Array (GRETINA) workshop. The LECM plenary sessions featured the start of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee Long Range Plan discussions, a presentation on how to use evaluation as a way to enhance diversity, perspectives from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, the FRIB Theory Alliance (FRIB-TA) annual meeting, and talks from the 2022 FRIB Early Achievement Award winners. The meeting highlighted the status at major user facilities—FRIB, the Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System (ATLAS), and the Association for Research at University Nuclear Accelerators (ARUNA) laboratories.

The 2022 LECM preamble and resolutions stated:

The goal of low energy nuclear physics is to develop a predictive theory of atomic nuclei and their interactions, elucidate the chemical history of the universe, understand the role of nuclear reactions in astrophysical processes, use atomic nuclei as laboratories to test nature’s fundamental symmetries, and develop tools and related technologies to address important societal problems. The foundation is in place to achieve these goals through existing national user and university-based facilities delivering beams of stable and rare isotopes and equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation. Given the appropriate support, our research community will continue to make significant progress.

  • As a community, we reinforce our commitment to foster a diverse scientific workforce, we support and are respectful of diversity in all of its forms in the community, and we are wholly committed to ensuring an inclusive and accessible environment for all.
  • The community strongly supports the operation of the two national user facilities FRIB and ATLAS at optimal levels. A main focus now is development of instrumentation, upgrades, and research programs necessary to realize the full scientific potential of these facilities. Support for the Gamma-Ray Tracking Array (GRETA) and the High Rigidity Spectrometer (HRS) on technically-driven schedules is critical to realize the full scope of FRIB scientific opportunities in a timely manner, as is development of the FRIB Decay Station (FDS), the Isochronous Spectrometer with Large Acceptance at FRIB (ISLA), and other new community devices. The science case for an energy upgrade of FRIB to 400 MeV/u is compelling and will significantly expand the FRIB program.
  • The ARUNA facilities are central to the low-energy science program and to workforce development. Their continued effective operation is crucial. The community strongly supports the funding of these facilities and the associated research groups.
  • We strongly support funding for individual research at all levels to realize the many compelling opportunities made possible by the portfolio of facilities.
  • We strongly endorse continued support of the FRIB-TA and all of its activities. In particular, FRIB-TA Bridge Positions, Fellows, and Topical programs ensure intellectual vitality in our field.
  • The Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA) has been an essential part of low-energy nuclear science. It has built strong national and international communication and collaboration links across disciplines and across theory and experiment that are critical in nuclear astrophysics. We strongly endorse support for a nuclear astrophysics center such as the Center for Nuclear Astrophysics across Messengers (CeNAM) that fulfills this important role and propels innovation in the multi-messenger era.

LECM also presented a concluding statement at the meeting:

FRIB and its key FRIB400 upgrade will provide access to the extreme isotopes required to build a more complete picture of nuclear matter. The ATLAS stable beam facility completes the panoply of beams and tools needed by the research community. The ARUNA laboratories offer often-unique, specialized facilities and, in addition, provide outstanding training opportunities for the next generation of nuclear scientists. Key national laboratory facilities contribute targeted capabilities and programs. Equipment and techniques are developed and shared. The FRIB-TA, CeNAM, and nuclear data efforts tie the research to the broader goals and are essential components. The sum of the large- and small-scale facilities with overarching data and theory programs places the U.S. in a leadership position for basic nuclear science.