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The University of Tennessee

Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Experimental Nuclear Structure


Our research is devoted to understanding one of Nature's most intriguing, and unique, systems  - the atomic nucleus. The nucleus is unique since, as a quantal system, it brings together many types of behaviour almost all of which exist in other systems (such as shells and magic numbers, pairing and superfluidity or collective motion ), but which interact with one another in nuclei.


In order to understand this system we must probe its constituent parts: protons and neutrons.  To achieve this we study the wide variety of isotopes which exist. Although we know of only 92 elements which have 284 stable forms, there are around a further 20 elements and 3000 known isotopes which exist on timescales ranging from billionths of seconds (or less) to billions of years. Amongst these isotopes nuclei occur in vastly different combinations of protons and neutrons. This arrangement of strongly interacting fermions with a large, yet finite, number of constituents governs the physics of the system.


The behaviour of nuclei can be associated with single-particle or collective modes. While these modes may occur in isolation it is the interaction between them which provides nuclear spectroscopy with its rich diversity.


We perform our experiments, in conjunction with physicists from across the globe, at several US laboratories including Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) as well as at other international research facilities such as JYFL (Jyväskylä, Finland), GSI (Darmstadt, Germany) and ISOLDE (CERN Geneva, Switzerland). We enjoy a close relationship with the Holifield Radioactive  Ion Beam Facility (HRIBF) at ORNL. As a result of this our group is at the forefront of many pioneering experiments  and our graduate students benefit from many opportunities to develop in their research.

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Contact Information

Decay Spectroscopy

Prof. Robert Grzywacz
Rm 407A Nielsen
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: (865) 974-5957

Dr. Miguel Madurga
Rm 601 SERF Building
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-7802

Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics
Dr. Kate Jones
Rm 406A Nielsen Physics Building
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: (865) 974-4022

Gamma Ray Spectroscopy
Prof. Lee L. Riedinger
South College 
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: (865) 719-4898

  • Spring 2019 Seminars (R. Grzywacz)