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Physics Department

Nuclear and Particle Physics

Nuclear and Particle Physics

As particle and nuclear physicists, we study the smallest constituents of matter and the fundamental symmetries underlying the physical world. Our research takes place at some of the world’s highest-energy particle accelerators, and in the nuclear lab here at USNA. Midshipmen in our group contribute to detector construction, software development, and data analysis in connection with international scientific collaborations. Current research questions include: What physics exists beyond the Standard Model? What is dark matter? What is the nature of the nuclear strong force?  What are the properties of the quark-gluon plasma? How are heavy elements (anything above iron) formed in the universe?Facilities:2MV tandem Pelletron accelerator


Nuclear and Particle Research

Here are the professors that are currently working on research concerning nuclear and particle physics. Midshipmen are encouraged to reach out to professors to conduct research.

Rachel Carr

Rachel Carr works in particle and nuclear physics with a focus on neutrinos, weakly interacting particles whose unusual properties may be a window into physics beyond the Standard Model. Nuclear reactors, the brightest sources of neutrinos on earth, are a frequent element in this research. Related work includes development of technology for nuclear safeguards and verification.


Allison Hall

Allison Hall studies high energy physics (HEP) using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. The LHC collides extremely energetic protons together to probe the fundamental building blocks of nature. Dr. Hall uses data from the CMS experiment at the LHC to search for evidence of dark matter, which is known to interact gravitationally but has never been directly observed. She is also involved in scientific computing research to improve the efficiency and usability of the millions of lines of code that are required to analyze the immense volume of data from the LHC. As part of her research, Dr. Hall collaborates with scientists at institutions around the globe.

Daryl Hartley

Daryl Hartley studies neutron-rich nuclei in the rare-earth region in order to better understand how the heavy elements (anything above iron) are formed in stellar processes.    In particular, he is using neutron-rich beams from the CARIBU source at Argonne National Laboratory, along with multi-nucleon transfer reactions with Gammasphere (also at Argonne).    His work is funded by the National Science Foundation and most of his students travel to Argonne to participate and analyze data from these experiments.


Jeff Vanhoy


Richard Witt


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