Exotic Beam Summer School introduces students to the science of exotic nuclei

16 July 2023

FRIB hosted the 20th Exotic Beam Summer School (EBSS 2023) from 9-15 July. The school introduces students and young researchers to the various facets of the science of exotic nuclei.

Forty-two students from four countries—Canada, Germany, Italy, and the U.S.—attended the event, which educates students about nuclear structure, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and the application of nuclear science and technology.

The format of the school is unique: in the mornings, students received lectures from leading researchers in the field of nuclear physics with exotic beams, focusing on theoretical, experimental, technical and applied topics. In the afternoons, the students participated in hands-on activities, learning about the techniques and instrumentation needed to carry out experiments with exotic beams.

“The school aims to maximize the interactions between the students and between students and lecturers,” said Chris Wrede, a professor of physics at FRIB and in MSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and director of EBSS 2023. “In years to come, substantial progress in low-energy nuclear physics will have a broad impact on society, ranging from understanding the origin of elements to our national security.”

During the school, the students conducted four experiments. Each experiment was done by a group of at least 10 students and lasted over five hours. The goal of each experiment was to measure the unknown mass of the exotic neutron-deficient isotope phosphorus-26 using the FRIB Low Energy Beam and Ion Trip (LEBIT). The results determined the limits of nuclear binding, the location of the proton drip line, and helped to interpret a potential proton halo in phosphorus-26.

“The measurements were successful and each group prepared a paper on their work in the Physical Review Letters style and made a presentation on their work,” Wrede said. “It is very unusual that students would make publishable measurements during a nuclear physics summer school.”

The EBSS series is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the following laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), FRIB, and the Association for Research at University Nuclear Accelerators (ARUNA). The school, held annually, rotates among the various laboratories and is specifically designed for graduate students and postdocs (within two years of a PhD degree).

Michigan State University operates the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams as a user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), supporting the mission of the DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics.