PHY599.02 (Spring 2004)

Graduate Seminar in Nuclear and Particle Physics and Astronomy



Prof. Clark McGrew
Email:, Office: Physics D-134, Phone: 632-8299
Office hrs: TW 10:30-12:00 or by appointment
Prof. Edward Shuryak
Email:, Office: Physics C-139, Phone: 632-8127,
Office hrs: TT 2:00-4:400

Place and Time:



For electronic article access, try the university license to APS Journals (Physical Review) and other journals or the electronic preprint archive at Los Alamos); for searching published work in astronomy, the ADS abstract service is excellent



Special Notes:

Any excuses (medical or otherwise) are to be documented, and discussed with the instructors in a timely manner. If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact on your ability to carry out assigned course work, we urge that you contact the staff in the Disabled Student Services office (DSS), Room 133 Humanities, 632-6748/TDD. DSS will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation of disability is confidential.

Topics in Nuclear Physics

The Phase-Diagram of Nuclear Matter:
The QCD phase diagram exhibits a large number of different phases including normal nuclear matter, dense hadron matter, quark gluon plasma, color super conductors. Discuss the phase diagram and its characteristic features and their theoretical basis. Explain which parts can be addressed by which experimental techniques. (Drees)
Jet Quenching:
Particle jets arise from quarks or gluons scattered with large momentum transfer. In heavy ion collisions the scattered quarks and gluons traverse matter and should lose a large amount of energy if the density is high. Jet quenching was recently observed in PHENIX. Discuss the result, focusing on either theoretical or experimental aspects. (Drees, Jacak)
J/Psi suppression, a signature for deconfinement of quarks:
In collisions of heavy ions fewer J/psi mesons are produced than expected from summing independent nucleon-nucleon collisions. This was predicted as a signature of quark-gluon plasma formation. Briefly describe the concept of quark gluon plasma. Discuss the mechanism of suppression of the J/psi and recent data. (Drees, Jacak)
Electromagnetic Radiation from Hot, Dense Nuclear Matter:
Enhanced radiation of lepton pairs from the hot and dense reaction volume created in collision of nuclei was discovered at CERN. The data indicate melting of the QCD vacuum and therefore the presence of a QCD phase transition. Show the experimental results and interpretations. (Drees, Hemmick, Rapp, Zahed)
Statistical Mechanics of Nuclear Collisions:
The number and spectra of particles produced in heavy ion collisions is well described by statistical emission from an equilibrated gas of hadrons. Data indicate that hadrons decouple at a temperature near 170 MeV, near the QCD phase transition between quarks and hadrons. Describe the measurements, statistical analysis and interpretation. (Shuryak, Prakash, Jacak, Hemmick)
Particle Interferometry:
The space-time extent of the collision region formed in nuclear reactions can be studied by measuring the interference between two identical outgoing particles. Measurements at RHIC show a surprise: the sizes are no larger than at lower energy, even though RHIC produces more particles and more explosive collisions. Explain the technique and discuss the recent results. (Jacak, Hemmick, Brown, Shuryak)
Elliptic Flow of Matter
The high particle multiplicity in heavy ion collisions produces high pressure and non-isotropic particle emission patterns. The anisotropy at RHIC is large and indicates rapid equilibration followed by hydrodynamic expansion. Discuss the phenomenon and to what extent it indicates quark gluon plasma formation. (Shuryak, Hemmick)
Where are the quarks inside nuclei?
Discuss scattering of leptons from nuclei and dilepton production via the Drell-Yan process to probe quark and antiquark distributions. What do we learn from such data about the quark structure functions, and what is the effect of the nuclear medium? (Jacak, Marx)
Where is the spin of the proton?
Results from deep inelastic scattering experiments using polarized electrons and polarized protons indicate that the quark spin contribution to the spin of the proton is essentially zero. Review these experiments and discuss upcoming attempts at Brookhaven to measure the polarization of gluons inside the proton. (Jacak, Shuryak)
Measurements of the Electron Neutrino Mass:
Discuss the various experiments to measure electron neutrino masses from beta-decay endpoint measurements and double-beta decay. Give the latest results and discuss the relation of these results to the recent observations of neutrino oscillations. (Shrock, Jung)
Parity Non-conservation in Atoms:
The strength of parity violating transitions in atoms allow determination of standard-model parameters at low q-squared. Discuss the experiments and the model sensitivities. (Sprouse)
Nuclear Sizes and Moments from Hyperfine Laser Spectroscopy:
Precise data on nuclear charge radii and electromagnetic moments can be obtained from hyperfine spectroscopy using lasers. Discuss how these experiments are done. Give examples of deduced nuclear properties such as the nuclear compressibility. Also discuss the use of laser spectroscopy to trap radioactive ions to study parity non-conservation in atomic transitions. (Sprouse)
Giant Resonances as a Nuclear Clock:
Discuss how measurements of the strength of Giant Dipole Resonance in hot heavy large nuclei can be used to time large scale nuclear motion as exemplified by the fission process. Discuss how these measurements can be translated into a nuclear dissipation as a function of nuclear temperature and relate the results in terms of various fundamental models for dissipation in nuclear matter. (Jacak, Paul)
Super-Heavy Nuclei:
Well-founded nuclear model calculations have predicted a stable (lifetimes between 1 and 100 years) island of very heavy nuclei near Z--114 and A--300. A few such nuclei have recently been detected. Discuss the theoretical basis for the super-heavy island and the possible approaches to it by use of heavy ion reactions. Discuss the (somewhat controversial) results from recent experiments. (Sprouse, Jacak)
Nuclear Liquid-Gas Phase Transition:
Under the influence of heat and pressure nuclear matter is expected to undergo a liquid-gas phase transition. This is the boiling point of nuclear matter. Report on recent experiment showing fragmentation of nuclei into large clusters (droplets) at intermediate energies (several 100 MeV/u) which are interpreted in terms of such a phase transition. Discuss the theoretical connection of these experiments with a phase transition from a nuclear liquid to a nuclear gas phase. (Jacak)
Color Superconductivity and QCD at High Density:
Quark matter at high density is believed to display a number of interesting phases, with quark Cooper pairs condensing like in an ordinary superconductor. Those pairs are diquarks which are already observed inside the ordinary nucleons. (Zahed,Shuryak)
Multiquark Hadrons:
In summer 2003 the long predicted truly exotic hadron was observed, the pentaquark with the quark content uudd anti-s. Several other experiments since that time have seen it, and new members of that family has been discovered. Their light mass and very small widths provide challanges to hadronic models. (Shuryak,Zahed)

Topics in Elementary Particle Physics

Discovery of the Top Quark:
Discuss the discovery and the measurements of top quark production cross section and the top quark mass by the DØ and CDF experiments. Discuss the signatures and methods used, and the significance of the precise measurement of the top quark mass for the prediction of the Higgs boson mass. (Grannis, Hobbs)
Search for the Higgs Boson:
Discuss the search for the Standard Model Higgs boson carried out at LEP, at the upgraded TeVatron, and at the Large Hadron Collider. What are the different strategies as function of the mass and the prospects for success? (Grannis, Hobbs, Rijssenbeek)
Precision Measurement of the Z Boson Parameters:
Measurements at the SLAC SLC collider and the CERN LEP collider of the Z boson mass, width, and production cross section. Relevance to tests of the Standard Model. (Hobbs, Grannis, Rijssenbeek, Gonzalez-Garcia)
Quantum Chromo-Dynamics:
Discuss the gauge theory of QCD. Discuss recent results on high energy jet production in the framework of perturbative QCD calculations and experimental measurement techniques by the DØ and CDF collaborations. (McCarthy, Sterman)
Large Extra dimensions and Grand Unification at the Electroweak Scale:
Discuss the recent theoretical developments in trying to obtain Grand Unification of the elementary forces in the neighborhood of the electroweak scale (1 TeV) by postulating the existence of "large" (µm to mm) extra dimensions. Review existing and ongoing experimental research in gravity at the sub-millimeter scale, and predictions for physics at the Tevatron and the large hadron collider LHC at CERN. (Van Nieuwenhuizen, Hobbs, Rijssenbeek)
Parton Structure of the Proton:
How do we measure the quark and gluon distributions in the proton? How do they vary with q-squared? What is the spin content of the proton? (Smith, McCarthy)
Precision Measurement of the W Boson Mass:
Discuss the precision measurement of the W mass at the FNAL TeVatron collider by the DØ and CDF collaborations and by the four LEP collaborations. Discuss the measurement methods and the achieved precision. Explain its importance as a test of the Standard Model, as well as the ultimate test of one's understanding of the detector.. (Rijssenbeek, Grannis)
Detection of Neutrinos from the Sun:
Discuss the major ongoing experiments (Super-Kamiokande, SNO, Davis, Gallex/GNO, Sage) that measure the flux of solar neutrinos. Give their latest results and the implications of these results on standard solar models and the Standard Electroweak model. Summarize the concrete plans for new experiments. (Jung, McGrew, Yanagisawa, Gonzalez-Garcia)
Detection of Neutrinos from Supernovae:
Neutrinos from the supernova SN1987a are the only astrophysical neutrinos observed other than solar neutrinos. Discuss the supernova neutrino production mechanism, observation of neutrinos from SN1987a, experimental observation methods and future prospects. (Jung, Yanagisawa, Lattimer)
Atmospheric Neutrinos and Neutrino Oscillations:
Discuss the origin of atmospheric neutrinos and the expected fluxes of electron-type and muon-type neutrinos. Discuss the experimental measurements that differ from the predicted values and possible explanations for the discrepancy. And finally discuss the recent Super-Kamiokande results that show evidence for neutrino oscillations, and supporting evidences from other experiments. (Jung, McGrew, Yanagisawa,Gonzalez-Garcia)
Long Baseline Neutrino Oscillation Experiments and Lepton Mixing matrix:
Observations of neutrino oscillations by the underground experiments in the atmospheric and solar neutrinos have revolutionized the particle physics. There are efforts to further confirm this findings using accelerator produced neutrino beams and to measure the lepton mixing matrix elements, which doesn't exist in the Standard Model. Give the latest results from the K2K experiment and summarize the plans for new experiments (MINOS, CNGS and JHFnu). (Jung, McGrew, Yanagisawa, Shrock, Gonzalez-Garcia)
The Nature and Magnitude of the Neutrino Mass:
The neutrino oscillation signal observed by several experiments implies that neutrinos have a small, but finite mass. Discuss the implication of neutrino mass for the standard model of particle physics and what is known about the mass from neutrino oscillation experiments, direct mass searches,and neutrinoless double beta-decay experiments. Describe the experimental techniques use in either a direct mass, or a double beta-decay search.(McGrew,Gonzalez-Garcia,Shrock)
Ultra High Energy Cosmic Ray Events:
There are two ground based experiments: AGASA and HiRES that claim to observe cosmic ray events beyond so called "GZK cut-off". These events are the highest known particle interaction events (~1020 eV). Explain the GZK cut-off. Give the latest results from these experiments and explore possible scenarios/explanations for these extraordinary events. Summarize the plans for new experiments. (Forman, Jung, McGrew, Yanagisawa, Gonzalez-Garcia)
Search for Proton Decay:
Discuss why many GUT theories require proton decay. Give an overview of the experimental situation, and present the current results and limits. (Jung, McGrew, Yanagisawa, Shrock)
Search for Supersymmetric Particles:
Discuss the basic concepts of supersymmetry, and search techniques. Present recent results and future prospects for the discovery of supersymmetry. (Hobbs, Jung, van Nieuwenhuizen, Shrock)
CP Violation in K Decay:
Review the evidence for CP violation and outline the phenomenology of the K0-anti-K0 system. Discuss recent measurements of CP violation and the prospect for further progress. (Grannis, Shrock)
Mixing and CP Violation in the B-Bbar System:
Description of the theoretical basis and experimental techniques, including recent results and future prospects with the Fermilab TeVatron Collider detectors and B-factories. (Hobbs, Rijssenbeek, Grannis, Smith)
g-2 Experiment:
Review the current claim from the BNL g-2 experiment that their measurement disagrees with the Standard Model prediction, and associated controversy. Why is this important? (Grannis, Rijssenbeek, Shrock)

Topics in Astronomy

Kuiper Belt Objects:
Discuss how they were detected and their significance to our solar system. (Evans)
Supermassive Nuclear Black Holes:
Discuss evidence for their existence in both active and quiescent galaxies. (Evans)
High-redshift Galaxies:
The formation and early evolution of galaxies. (Evans, Lanzetta)
Big-Bang Nucleosynthesis:
Describe the present understanding of nucleosynthesis and discuss resulting constraints on particle physics and cosmology. (Lanzetta)
Quasar Absorption Lines:
What do they tell us about intervening galaxies and gas. (Lanzetta)
Discuss the process of explosive star death in detail. Or, discuss the observational and theoretical understanding of how the ejecta interact with the interstellar medium, and produce what we see as supernova remnants. (Lattimer, Prakash, Brown)
Neutron (Quark?) Stars:
Discuss the structure, "birth", and evolution of neutron stars. Discuss recent measurements of the radius of an isolated nearby neutron star. (Lattimer, Walter, Brown, Prakash)
Ultra-luminous Infrared Galaxies:
Ultra-luminous infrared galaxies have total luminosities that rival those of quasars. Discuss what they are and how they were detected. (Solomon, Evans)
Star Formation and Chemical Enrichment:
Discuss the process of star formation and formation of the natural elements (nucleo-synthesis) during the epoch of galaxy formation. (Solomon)
The Inflation Paradigm:
What is it and what does it predict? (Yahil)
Dark Matter in Galaxies:
Discuss the discovery of invisible ("dark") matter in our and other galaxies. Discuss its proposed distribution and form, and the various proposed types of dark matter. What are its cosmological implications? (Yahil)
Gravitational Lensing:
Discuss the phenomenon, origin, discovery and use of gravitational macro-lensing. Discuss lensing by galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Alternatively, discuss observations of gravitational micro-lensing towards the galactic bulge and Magellanic closed. What have we learned from these about the structure of ordinary and dark matter in and around our Galaxy? (Yahil)
Microwave Background, its Fluctuations and Dark Energy:
Discuss the discovery of the cosmic microwave background. Focus on recent measurements of the fluctuations of the microwave background. Include recent balloon experiment results. What are the cosmological implications of these results? (Yahil)
Gamma-ray Bursts:
Discuss the basic properties of gamma-ray bursts and the post-1997 developments in our understanding of these cosmic fireworks. (Brown, Prakash, Lattimer)
Extrasolar Planets:
Discuss the techniques used to find planets around other stars, the results of searches to date, and the implications for our understanding of solar-system formation. (Peterson)
Gravity Waves:
Discuss the theoretical relevance of gravity waves, the likely astrophysical sources of gravity waves, and past and future progress towards detecting them. (Lattimer)
Supernovae and the accelerating universe:
Give a critical assessment of recent evidence from supernova studies that the cosmological constant is non-zero, and discuss the implications of a non-zero cosmological constant. (Lanzetta, Yahil)
Star and Planet Formation:
Describe what we know about the process. In particular, discuss what chondrules tell us about the conditions in the early solar system. (Walter)
Solar flares:
What new light do the recent TRACE images/movies throw on the interaction between magnetic fields and the plasma in the solar atmosphere? (Walter)
Ultra-High-Energy Cosmic Rays:
Cosmic acceleration mechanisms and the propagation of charged particles from their origin to us. (Forman)
Last Updated: $Date: 2004/02/04 15:57:49 $


Name Room Telephone E-Mail
Axel Drees Physics C105 2-8114
Rod Engelmann Physics D106 2-8087
Aaron Evans ESS-452 2-1302
Miriam Forman Physics A106 2-8165
Concha Gonzalez-Garcia Math Tower 6-115A 2-7971
Fred Goldhaber ITP, MT6-113 2-7975
Paul Grannis Physics D142 2-8088
Tom Hemmick Physics C107 2-8111
John Hobbs Physics D108 2-8084
Barbara Jacak Physics C102 2-6041
Chang Kee Jung Physics D141 2-8108
Ken Lanzetta ESS 456 2-8222
James Lattimer ESS 455 2-8227
Robert McCarthy Physics D104 2-8086
Clark McGrew Physics D134 2-8299
Deane Peterson ESS 454 2-8223
Michael Rijssenbeek Physics D134 2-8099
Martin Rocek ITP MT6-116A 2-7965
Robert Shrock ITP D146 2-7986
Jack Smith ITP MT6-111 2-7973
Philip Solomon ESS 449 2-8231
Gene Sprouse Physics C109 2-8118
Edward Shuryak Physics C-139 2-8127
George Sterman ITP MT6-115A 2-7967
Peter van Nieuwenhuizen ITP MT6-110 2-7972
Amos Yahil ESS 461 2-8224
Chiaki Yanagisawa Physics D138 2-8105