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The ‘Little’ Computer Cluster That Could

A computer cluster at Berkeley Lab, which switched off last month, since 1996 had served as a steady workhorse in supporting groundbreaking physics research conducted by large collaborations.

Setting a ‘Gold Standard’ for Ultrasensitive Particle Detectors

Alan “Al” Smith was a pioneer in the “low-background counting” performance of particle detectors – their ability to see ever-fainter signatures of particle interactions. He developed the gold standard for measuring trace levels of radioactivity in materials and components.

Sea Quark Surprise Reveals Deeper Complexity in Proton Spin Puzzle

New data from the STAR experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) add detail – and complexity – to an intriguing puzzle that scientists have been seeking to solve: how the building blocks that make up a proton contribute to its spin.

Preparing for a New Tool to Study the ‘Glue That Binds Us All’

For several decades, the nuclear science community has been calling for a new type of particle collider to pursue – in the words of one report – “a new experimental quest to study the glue that binds us all.” This glue is responsible for most of the visible universe’s matter and mass. To learn about this glue, scientists are proposing a unique, high-energy collider that smashes accelerated electrons, which carry a negative charge, into charged atomic nuclei or protons, which carry a positive charge.

New Measurements of Exotic Form of Magnesium Suggest a Surprising Shape-Shift

A team led by Berkeley Lab scientists has gleaned new and surprising clues about the nuclear structure of an exotic form of magnesium – Mg-40.

How to Escape a Black Hole: Simulations Provide New Clues to What’s Driving Powerful Plasma Jets

New simulations led by researchers working at the Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley combine decades-old theories to provide new insight about the driving mechanisms in plasma jets that allow them to steal energy from black holes’ powerful gravitational fields and propel it far from their gaping mouths.

FIONA Measures the Mass Number of 2 Superheavy Elements: Moscovium and Nihonium

A team led by nuclear physicists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has reported the first direct measurements of the mass numbers for the nuclei of two superheavy elements: moscovium, which is element 115, and nihonium, element 113. They obtained the results using FIONA, a new tool at Berkeley Lab that is designed to resolve the nuclear and atomic properties of the heaviest elements.

A Next Step for GRETA: A Better Gamma-Ray Detector

A new high-resolution gamma-ray detector system – designed to reveal new details about the structure and inner workings of atomic nuclei, and to elevate our understanding of matter and the stellar creation of elements – has passed an important project milestone.

Award Finalists Demonstrate Improved Nuclear Physics Code for Supercomputing

André Walker-Loud, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), is co-leader of a team that is among the six finalists for the Association of Computing Machinery’s Gordon Bell Prize that will be awarded this month.

Gamma Rays, Watch Out: There’s a New Detector in Town

With funding from an Early Career Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) award announced last year, NSD’s Heather Crawford and her team of researchers are developing a prototype for an ultrahigh-rate high-purity germanium (HPGe) detector that can count 2 to 5 million gamma rays per second while maintaining high resolution, allowing them to accurately measure the energy spectrum under extreme conditions.