#1 Graduate Program

Nuclear Physics Graduate Program named No 1 in the country by U.S. News and world report

How Does Sulfur-44 Get its Spin?

A measurement performed at NSCL provided new insights into the structure of the rare isotope sulfur-44, which has an excess of 12 neutrons as compared to the most abundant stable sulfur-32 isotope found in nature.

Laser-precision studies of nuclear radii

One of the most fundamental properties of the nucleus is its size. Generally, nuclear radii follow a smooth trend: they gradually increase with the number of constituent protons and neutrons. However, when looked through a magnifying glass, measured radii display local variations, which signal structural changes. To measure such variations, superb precision is needed. To measure such small effects on radii of short-lived isotopes, a novel experimental scheme has been developed at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University (MSU). The method involves laser spectroscopy of isotopes produced through a fast in-flight separation followed by gas stopping.

Bubble Nucleus Discovered at MSU

Research conducted at NSCL has shed new light on the structure of the nucleus, that tiny congregation of protons and neutrons found at the core of every atom. “The finding is somewhat unexpected,” said Alexandra Gade, chief scientist at MSU’s NSCL, where the work took place. “We’ve confirmed something that has been suspected for about 40 years but hadn’t been observed. This result furthers our understanding of how the nucleus is put together.”

NSCL Tour at the Planetarium

Take a virtual tour of NSCL at the Planetarium on campus. The show is a great way to learn about the latest in NSCL science.

Nearly 4,000 attend FRIB/NSCL open house

The FRIB/NSCL open house showed the world-leading research and education that occurs in the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory every day, and showed the progress we’re making on the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.

A View in the Broken Nuclear Mirror

For a pair of mirror nuclei, where the number of neutrons in one matches the number of protons in the other, one expects their properties to be essentially the same. An experiment at NSCL compared an exotic mirror pair and unraveled the impact of angular momentum.

The Discovery of Isotopes: a Complete Compilation

A new book, "The Discovery of Isotopes - A complete compilation", has recently been published. The book, authored by Laboratory Faculty member Michael Thoennessen, is as “the” authoritative source for the determination of the discoveries of all nuclides.

Fragmentation Demonstrations for Teachers

One of JINA’s most-appreciated outreach efforts is pre-assembled “fragmentation boxes” that are offered freely to science teachers. These boxes, along with model marble “nuclei”, accompany a number of activities and lessons that make it easier to introduce nuclear reactions in the classroom.

Exploding Stars and Their Elusive Nuclear Reactions

An experiment performed at NSCL on the campus of Michigan State University revealed that challenging reactions can be conquered by an indirect approach that exploits the formation of unstable nuclei in beta decay and the detection of the gamma-ray radiation liberated in the process with the SuN detector.

What is Nuclear Astrophysics?

“Nuclear physics plays a special role in the cosmos. Everything that is visible in the night sky is powered by nuclear reactions.” That’s how Hendrik Schatz at NSCL opens his latest article ‘Trends in nuclear astrophysics‘ in JPhysG. But what exactly is it all about, and what’s happening in the field? We asked a few questions to find out.

Nuclear Science Summer School

Twelve students from various US Universities and Colleges spent a full week in the Laboratory learning about the exciting field of nuclear science. The students had the opportunity to attend lectures from experts in the field, participate in hands-on activities, interact with graduate students, postdocs and faculty, and take a tour of the laboratory.

Tracing the Origins of Stardust in the Nuclear Physics Laboratory

Stardust from ancient stellar explosions finds its way to earth in the form of microscopic rocks called presolar grains. Identifying the origin of these grains is difficult, but a new experiment may shed some light on this 5-billion-year-old question.

Undergrads Receive Hantel Fellowship Awards

Three of the Lab's undergraduate students were chosen to receive the Department of Physics and Astronomy's Lawrence W. Hantel Endowed Fellowship awards for their research work.

Core-Collapse Supernovae to Nuclear Electron Capture

A new open source weak interaction rate library with the aim of standardizing the incorporation of weak rates in astrophysical simulations is now available. This library brings together all major weak interaction rate tables and is easily expanded to incorporate new tables of arbitrary grid resolution and ranges of density and temperature. It's first implementation was in the sensitivity study of core-collapse supernovae to nuclear electron capture.


Game on: New MSU video game aims to draw kids to science

Wigner’s Equation Passes the Test

Eugene Wigner won the 1963 Nobel Prize. Among his contributions was a simple quadratic equation known as the Isobaric Multiplet Mass Equation (IMME). Over time, questions arose about this equation. Recently, scientists were able to precisely measure nuclear structure effects at NSCL. As a result of their measurements, they showed that the IMME is revalidated.

A Radar Gun for Nuclei

Measuring the energies of the neutrons emitted following beta decay is important for applications in nuclear energy and nuclear astrophysics. However, neutrons are notoriously difficult to detect directly because they are not electrical charged. A team of scientists at NSCL recently demonstrated a technique using Doppler shift that can determine the energies of these neutrons without detecting them directly.

Discovery of Germanium 59

A team of NSCL researchers discovered the lightest known isotope of germanium: Ge-59.

2016 Graduate Brochure

The 2016 Graduate Brochure is available here. It is a great resource for prospective graduate students.


The 2016 Graduate Brochure is available here. It is a great resource for prospective graduate students.

First ReA3 Experiment

NSCL passes significant milestone with the completion of ReA3 experiment.