of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). It will also further our understanding of how quarks and gluons form nucleons and nuclei, the most fundamental building blocks of visible matter, and enable a precision test of the Standard Model. The luminosity at RHIC has been increased and the detectors have been upgraded, providing the opportunity to conduct experiments that can make more incisive measurements of the contributions of quarks and gluons to the spin of the proton and capitalizing on RHIC’s recent discovery of a liquid phase for quarks and gluons. U.S.-sponsored scientists participate in experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) that should bring new ways of exploring this new phase of matter. Neutrino experiment discoveries at underground laboratories already required the first revision to the Standard Model in four decades, and new experiments to answer important questions about neutrinos are under way or planned in the United States and around the world. The low-energy nuclear physics user facilities, ATLAS and NSCL, are developing new paradigms of nuclear structure. These facilities, together with low-energy stable beam and neutron beam facilities, provide an array of beams and equipment required for the understanding of nuclear structure and nuclear reactions responsible for element production in stars and stellar explosions. These are also the tools needed for giving society innovative applications of nuclear science. The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), now under construction at MSU, will provide unique capabilities within an expanding worldwide arsenal of rare isotope facilities. The Fundamental Neutron Beam line is poised to begin its research program, which includes experiments with enormous discovery potential by making unprecedented tests of the fundamental symmetries of nature. Nuclear theorists, computer scientists, and applied mathematicians are taking advantage of state-of-the art supercomputers to carry out calculations of previously intractable complexity, leading to new understanding of nuclear structure and reaction dynamics, supernova explosions, nucleon structure, and quark-gluon plasma properties. With all these new tools, the U.S. nuclear physics community is poised to make important discoveries in the coming decade.

Finding: By capitalizing on strategic investments, including the ongoing upgrade of the continuous electron beam accelerator facility (CEBAF) at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and the recently completed upgrade of the relativistic heavy ion collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory, as well as other upgrades to the research infrastructure, nuclear physicists will confront new opportunities to make fundamental discoveries and lay the groundwork for new applications.

Conclusion: Exploiting strategic investments should be an essential component of the U.S. nuclear science program in the coming decade.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement