National Superconducting
Cyclotron Laboratory

Wolfgang Bauer
Wolfgang Bauer
University Distinguished Professor of Physics
Theoretical Nuclear Physics
PhD, Physics, University Giessen 1987
Joined NSCL in October 1988
Phone (517) 884-5515
Fax (517) 353-5967
Office 2059
bauer at

Wolfgang Bauer

Professional homepage

I am a theoretical physicist and work mainly on phase transitions in nuclear systems, on transport theory for heavy ion collisions, and on the determination of the nuclear equation of state. Much of my work is in close connection with experimentally accessible observables, and I have enjoyed many collaborations with my experimental colleagues from NSCL and around the world. Approximately one half of my roughly 130 publications in peer-reviewed journals are collaborations with experimentalists.

During the last few years I have found out that many advances in one particular field of science can be applied in an interdisciplinary way. One example is my a pplication of algorithms developed in my work on nuclear fragmentation to the detection of cancer cells in human bodies. Another example is the application of our methods to solve the transport problem for heavy ion collisions to the dynamics of supernova explosions. This project is still ongoing, and we are making progress on solving turbulence and instability problems.

I have also worked on chaos, non-linear dynamics, and self-organized criticality. All of these areas of study have applications to nuclear physics, but also to a great range of other systems, from molecules to traffic flow, and from the stock market to the weather. Recently, I have been focussing on renewable power production, in particular biogas power plants. I am working on a book on biofuels, which will be published by World Scientific.

Finally, I am interested in research on teaching and learning. Here I have a long-standing collaboration that has produced the LON-CAPA course management and learning system, which is now in use at over 100 universities, colleges, and high schools around the country and in several other countries around the world. And together with Prof. Gary Westfall I have authored a leading introductory physics university textbook, which has been translated into several other languages.

For the near future I am planning on a continuation of the work on biofuels, research on teaching and learning, nuclear fragmentation, as well as the transport problem for supernova explosions. In addition, my current duties include thinking about MSU's energy future, as well as providing reliable and economic electrical power for FRIB.

Using transport theories and models of phase transitions to determine the nuclear matter phase diagram.

Using transport theories and models of phase transitions to determine the nuclear matter phase diagram.

Selected Publications

Knudsen-number dependence of two-dimensional single-mode Rayleigh-Taylor fluid instabilities I. Sagert, J. Howell, A. Staber, T. Strother, D. Colbry, and W. Bauer, Phys. Rev. E92, 013009 (2015)

Zipf's Law in Nuclear Multifragmentation and Percolation Theory, K. Paech, W. Bauer, and S. Pratt, Phys. Rev. C 76, 054603 (2007)
Fragmentation and the Nuclear Equation of State, W. Bauer, Nucl. Phys. A787, 595c (2007)

Net Energy Ratio and Greenhouse Gas Analysis of a Biogas Power Plant, W. Bauer, J. of Energy and Power Eng. 7, 1656 (2013).

University Physics with Modern Physics (2nd edition, McGraw-Hill), W. Bauer and G.D. Westfall (2013)

Common Aspects of Phase Transitions of Molecules, Nuclei, and Hadronic Matter, W. Bauer, Nucl. Phys. A681, 441 (2001)