nuclear physics techniques, from magnetic resonance to detector technologies to the use of isotopes, have led to remarkable advances in diagnostic and therapeutic power. Nuclear diagnostic techniques have a growing and pervasive role in industry, national security, nonproliferation, geophysics, global climate research, and paleontology. Nuclear physics is the basis of important technologies in the design and preparation of materials. Through such applications, through the technical and intellectual intersections of nuclear physics with other fields of science, and through its intrinsic intellectual challenges, nuclear physics stands as one of the core sciences in the continuing advancement of knowledge.
Facilities and instrumentation are essential for progress, but science ultimately depends on the people who carry it out—on their individual creativity, drive, and enterprise. The scientists who conduct experiments and develop the theoretical framework for interpreting the results are the most essential components of the field. The continued intellectual vitality of nuclear physics as a science, and the continuation of the field's more direct contributions to societal needs, depend critically on the capacity to educate the next generation of physicists. Past performance has demonstrated that students trained in solving the enormously challenging problems of forefront physics research develop the array of skills needed to lead the nation in harnessing the rapidly advancing technology that often emerges from the research itself.
The remainder of this report summarizes the current status of the science of nuclear physics. Several items of more general interest are highlighted in boxes throughout the scientific chapters.