NS3 2021

August 2-6, 2021 -  Michigan State University

NS3 is a summer school that aims to introduce undergraduate student participants to the fields of nuclear science and nuclear astrophysics. NS3 will be hosted by the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) / Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University (MSU). The school will offer lectures and activities covering selected nuclear science and astrophysics topics. In 2021, NS3 will be held online for the second straight year.

Nuclear science and nuclear astrophysics are exciting fields that address important questions such as:

  • How were the nuclei we find on earth created?
  • How do nuclear reactions fuel stars and provide us with energy?
  • How do fundamental forces hold nucleons together in nuclei and generate their decays?
  • What are the properties of unstable nuclei?
  • How can nuclei be used to benefit society?

At FRIB/NSCL all these questions are investigated through the study of unstable nuclei, which often have large excesses of protons or neutrons compared to the well-known stable isotopes. These very short-lived nuclei have been produced by the Coupled Cyclotron Facility and delivered to experimental areas to study their properties or even determine their existence for the first time. In the near future, much more intense beams will be provided by the FRIB accelerator. Theorists help to interpret experimental data and develop theories that describe and predict the properties of atomic nuclei and how they react in collisions with other nuclei in the laboratory and in stars. Astrophysicists use the nuclear data as input to develop models of observed astrophysical phenomena. Often, the theorists, experimentalists, and modelers collaborate to achieve common goals. 


In the 2021 NS3, participants will:

1) Be introduced to basic nuclear science and nuclear astrophysics concepts through lectures and collaborative activities

2) Learn about current research topics and open questions in nuclear science

3) Meet with peers who are also excited about research in nuclear science and nuclear astrophysics!


The school is open to Physics & Chemistry Majors at US institutions who are at least 18 years of age at the time of the school. Prerequisites are Calculus, Introductory Physics I (Mechanics and Waves), Introductory Physics II (Electricity, Magnetism, Optics) and Modern Physics (or equivalent coursework). To apply, please fill out the form here.


Participation in NS3 2021 is free.

Important Dates

The deadline for applications is 5pm EDT, May 28th, 2021. The school will run August 2-6, 2021. Each day of that week will involve a 3-hour timeslot from 11 am – 2 pm EDT.


For questions about the school and/or the application process please write to: ns3@nscl.msu.edu

School Advisory Committee

  • Fernando Montes
  • Hendrik Schatz
  • Artemis Spyrou
  • Remco Zegers

Organizing Committee

  • Alexa Allen
  • Zach Constan
  • Tabitha Pinckney-Plough
  • Chris Wrede (chair)