T-2, Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Towards a toolkit for nuclear astrophysics research

Matthew Mumpower
U. Notre Dame

The rapid neutron capture or r-process of nucleosynthesis is believed to be responsible for the production of approximately half the heavy elements above Iron. Calculations of r-process nucleosynthesis involve thousands of pieces of nuclear data for which no experimental information is available. The astrophysical location(s) of the r process remain unknown, due in part to a lack of knowledge of nuclear physics inputs. I will present a suite of tools I have built during the past several years for investigating uncertain nuclear physics properties and their impact on the r-process. I highlight the power of this toolkit by showing how it can be used to elucidate influential nuclei, provide error bars for r-process calculations and study important mechanisms over a range of potential astrophysical conditions. The latest application of this framework utilizes the Metropolis Algorithm to predict the properties of unknown nuclei in the context of a given nuclear model. This work was supported by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics grant number PHY0822648.


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