Studying Atomic Nuclei while Reaching for the Stars

Exploring the synergy between nuclear physics and astrophysics has always been a core mission of nuclear science. Florida State University hosts strong groups in experimental and theoretical low-energy nuclear physics, as well as in astrophysics and astronomy, which work synergetically to tackle the open questions at the crossroads of these disciplines. The programs are funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). FSU plays a major role in the FRIB Theory Alliance. Besides performing experiments at different national and international facilities, the experimental nuclear physics group runs the John D. Fox Superconducting Linear Accelerator Laboratory located on the FSU campus. Operations of the laboratory are funded through the NSF. The Fox Laboratory is part of the Association for Research with University Nuclear Accelerators (ARUNA) and of the Center for Excellence in Nuclear Training and University-Based Research (CENTAUR).

Graduate Studies in Nuclear Structure and Nuclear Astrophysics

Become a part of our team. Exciting research projects are waiting for you. To find out more, visit our "Research" page. To apply as a gradudate student in the Physics Program at Florida State University, click here.

FSU graduates talk about their graduate-research experience at the Fox Lab.

Dr. Maria Anastasiou (Supervisor: I. Wiedenhöver)

Dr. Kalisa Villafana (Supervisor: M. Riley)

Featured Research



Resolution of a long-standing discrepancy in the 17O+12C fusion excitation function

Research by recent FSU graduate Dr. Benjamin Asher used the 'Encore' active target detector, built during his PhD, to solve a long-standing discrepancy in the fusion excitation function of the 17O+12C system. The unique properties of Encore allowed to measure a large portion of the fusion excitation function with a single beam energy, avoiding normalization issues that are usually present in this type of measurements. Ben's research found strong oscillations which have not been observed before in odd-even systems.

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Recent News and Highlights

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Nuclear group welcomes its newest faculty member Dr. Kevin Fossez

The low-energy nuclear physics group at Florida State University welcomes its newest faculty member Dr. Kevin Fossez. Kevin is the holder of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) theory alliance bridge position at Florida State University. Before joining FSU, Kevin was a FRIB theory fellow stationed at Argonne National Laboratory. His research interests cover the study of open quantum systems, many-body physics, low-energy nuclear structure and reactions, as well as many other related topics.

Fox Lab congratulates its most recent graduates

The Fox Lab congratulates its most recent graduates Dr. Benjamin Asher, Dr. Nathan Gerken and Dr. Jesus Perello. While Nathan graduated in Spring 2021 after successfully defending his thesis with the title "Isomeric Contributions to Stellar Nucleosynthesis", both Benjamin ("The Making of ENCORE: A MUlti Sampling Ionization Chamber") and Jesus ("Study of Low-Lying Proton Resonances in 26Si and Neutron Spectroscopic Studies with CATRiNA") graduated in Summer 2021. All three worked under the supervision of Prof. Sergio Almaraz-Calderon. Benjamin and Jesus are now on postdoctoral appointments at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Los Alamos National Laboratory, respectively. Nathan accepted a job at Platinum Edge Solutions.

New insights into the nuclear EOS

Following the new PREX-2 results for the neutron-skin thickness of 208Pb, Professor Piekarewicz and his collaborators have provided new insights into the nuclear equation of state describing atomic nuclei and neutron stars. The results, which were selected as an Editors' Suggestion, are published in Physical Review Letters (B.T. Reed et al.).

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J. Piekarewicz named Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor

J. Piekarewicz has been named as one of the 2021 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professors; one of the highest honors that the faculty bestow upon their own. The Lawton Distinguished Professor Award was first presented in 1957 as the Distinguished Professor Award. It was renamed in honor of the late Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert O. Lawton in 1981.

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CLARION2 support structure installed at FSU

With the support from collaborators from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the frame and support structure for the gamma-ray detection array CLARION2 were installed at the John D. Fox Laboratory in March 2021. CLARION2 is a joint project between Oak Ridge National Laboratory and FSU. The array will stay at the Fox lab for an extended campaign and see first beam in Summer 2021. V. Tripathi is in charge at FSU.

A success story

The FSU College of Arts and Sciences chose the nuclear-physics laboratory for a feature article telling the story of the laboratory's 60-year long history of educating generations of elite scholars and being on the forefront of nuclear science.

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Events, Colloquia and Seminars at the Department of Physics


Click on each event for location and abstract information.