National Superconducting
Cyclotron Laboratory

Dean  Lee
Dean Lee
Professor of Physics
Theoretical Nuclear Physics
Ph.D., Physics, Harvard University, 1998
Joined NSCL in August 2017
Phone 517-908-7282
Office Room 2122

Dean Lee

How do we connect fundamental physics to forefront experiments?

With new science waiting to be discovered at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) and the dawning of the era of exascale supercomputing, this is a profound challenge and opportunity for nuclear theory.  The Lee Research Group works to understand the nature and origins of matter by crafting new approaches that link quantum chromodynamics and electroweak theory to precise predictions for nuclear structure and reactions relevant to the FRIB science mission.

Professional webpage

One of the methods we have developed with collaborators is lattice effective field theory.  Effective field theory (EFT) is an organizing principle for the interactions of a complex system at low energies.  When applied to low-energy protons and neutrons in a formulation called chiral effective field theory, it functions as an expansion in powers of the nucleon momenta and the pion mass.  Lattice EFT combines this theoretical framework with lattice methods and Monte Carlo algorithms that are applicable to few-body systems, heavier nuclei, and infinite matter.  The Lee Research Group is part of the Nuclear Lattice EFT Collaboration, which has pioneered many of the theoretical ideas and methods now being used in lattice EFT calculations.


Some of the topics we have recently addressed are model-independent probes of nuclear clustering, nuclear physics near a quantum phase transition, connections between nuclear forces and nuclear structure, and the adiabatic projection method for nuclear scattering and reactions. We are always looking to work with experimentalists and theorists on new ideas and creative ways to collaborate.  If you are interested in working in or with our group, please email anytime.

“Strive to understand the physics so well
that surprises are not mistakes but new discoveries.”

Selected Publications

Rokash, E. Epelbaum, H. Krebs and D. Lee, “Effective forces between quantum bound states,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 232502 (2017).

Elhatisari et al., “Nuclear binding near a quantum phase transition,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, no. 13, 132501 (2016).

Elhatisari, D. Lee, G. Rupak, E. Epelbaum, H. Krebs, T. A. Lähde, T. Luu and U.-G. Meißner, “Ab initio alpha-alpha scattering,” Nature 528, 111 (2015).

Epelbaum, H. Krebs, T. A. Lähde, D. Lee and U.-G. Meißner, “Viability of Carbon-Based Life as a Function of the Light QuarkMass,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, no. 11, 112502 (2013).

Epelbaum, H. Krebs, T. A. Lähde, D. Lee and U.-G. Meißner, “Structure and rotations of the Hoyle state,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 252501 (2012).