Dr. Witold (Witek) Nazarewicz
John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor
FRIB Chief Scientist
Theoretical Nuclear Physics
NSCL Office 2059
Phone: (517) 908-7326
e-mail: witek at frib.msu.edu
Atomic nuclei, the core of matter and the fuel of stars, are self-bound
collections of protons and neutrons (nucleons) that interact through forces
that have their origin in quantum chromo-dynamics. Nuclei comprise 99.9%
of all baryonic matter in the Universe. The complex nature of the nuclear
forces among protons and neutrons yields a diverse and unique variety
of nuclear phenomena, which form the basis for the experimental and theoretical
studies. Developing a comprehensive description of all nuclei, a long-standing
goal of nuclear physics, requires theoretical and experimental investigations
of rare atomic nuclei, i.e. systems with neutron-to-proton ratios larger
and smaller than those naturally occurring on earth.
scientific themes that are being addressed by nuclear physics research are captured
by four overarching questions:
The main area of
my professional activity is the theoretical description of those exotic,
short-lived nuclei that inhabit remote regions of nuclear landscape. This research invites a strong interaction between
nuclear physics, many-body-problem, and high- performance computing.
- How did visible matter come into being and how does it evolve?
- How does subatomic matter organize itself and what phenomena emerge?
- Are the fundamental interactions that are basic to the structure of matter fully understood?
- How can the knowledge and technological progress provided by nuclear physics best be used to benefit society?
Quantum Many-Body Problem
Heavy nuclei are splendid laboratories of many-body science. While the
number of degrees of freedom in heavy nuclei is large, it is still very
small compared to the number of electrons in a solid or atoms in a mole
of gas. Nevertheless, nuclei exhibit behaviors that are emergent in nature
and present in other complex systems. For instance, shell structure, symmetry
breaking phenomena, collective excitations, and superconductivity are
found in nuclei, atomic clusters, quantum dots, small metallic grains,
and trapped atom gases.
Although the interactions of nuclear physics differ from the electromagnetic
interactions that dominate chemistry, materials, and biological molecules,
the theoretical methods and many of the computational techniques to solve
the quantum many-body problems are shared. Examples are ab-initio and
configuration interaction methods, and the Density Functional Theory,
used by nuclear theorists to describe light and heavy nuclei and nucleonic
Physics of Open Systems
Today, much interest in various fields of physics is devoted to the study
of small open quantum systems, whose properties are profoundly affected
by environment, i.e., continuum of decay channels. Although every finite
fermion system has its own characteristic features, resonance phenomena
are generic; they are great interdisciplinary unifiers. In the field of
nuclear physics, the growing interest in theory of open quantum systems
is associated with experimental efforts in producing weakly bound/unbound
nuclei close to the particle drip-lines, and studying structures and reactions
with those exotic systems. In this context, the major problem for nuclear
theory is a unification of structure and reaction aspects of nuclei, that
is based on the open quantum system many-body formalism. Solution of this
challenging problem has been advanced recently through the new-generation
continuum shell model approaches, in particular the Gamow Shell Model
based on the Berggren ensemble.
Physics of FRIB
The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams will be a world-leading
laboratory for the study of nuclear structure, reactions and
astrophysics. Experiments with intense beams of rare isotopes
produced at FRIB will guide us toward a comprehensive
description of nuclei, elucidate the origin of the elements
in the cosmos, help provide an understanding of matter in
neutron stars and establish the scientific foundation for
innovative applications of nuclear science to society. FRIB will
be essential for gaining access to key regions of the nuclear
chart, where the measured nuclear properties will challenge
established concepts, and highlight shortcomings and needed
modifications to current theory. Conversely, nuclear theory
will play a critical role in providing the intellectual framework
for the science at FRIB, and will provide invaluable guidance
to FRIB’s experimental programs.
Teaching at MSU
Dr. Witold Nazarewicz is both a John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Physics at Michigan State University, and a professor of physics at Warsaw University, Poland. He is also a Corporaste Fellow at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Physics Division. During 1999-2012 he served as the Scientific Director of the ORNL Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility. He has held several visiting positions, including professorships at Lund University, University of Cologne, Kyoto University, University of Liverpool, University of the West of Scotland, and Peking University.
Dr. Nazarewicz is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the U.K. Institute of Physics, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was named a 2008 Carnegie Centenary Professor
by the Carnegie Trust in Scotland; received Honorary Doctorates from
University of the West of Scotland in 2009 (see write-ups from UWS and DailyRecord) and University of York in 2019 (see the UoY announcement and graduation broadcast);
was awarded the 2012 Tom W. Bonner Prize from the American Physical Society (see write-ups from APS and UT Physics, as well as an interview with Panorama, Polish TV2 News); was named the 2012 Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Distinguished Scientist
2013 UT-Battelle (ORNL) Corporate Fellow, ORNL., and was
awarded the G.N. Flerov Prize of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research
for theoretical studies of the atomic and nuclear
properties of the heaviest elements.
Dr. Nazarewicz is the author of nine review papers and more than 420 refereed publications in scientific journals, with more than 28,000 citations and h-index of 91 (Web of Science) and 107 (Google Scholar).
He has also made more than 170 contributions to major conferences, published in their respective proceedings. He has given ~220 invited talks at major international conferences and more than 250 invited seminars and colloquia. Dr. Nazarewicz has helped organize ~70 meetings and conferences and presently serves on 12 professional committees and editorial boards.
"Microscopic Study of the High-Spin Behaviour in Selected A 80 Nuclei,"
W. Nazarewicz, J. Dudek, R. Bengtsson, T. Bengtsson and I.
Ragnarsson, Nucl. Phys. A435, 397 (1985).
"Structure of Superdeformed Bands in the A~150 Mass Region," W.
Nazarewicz, R. Wyss and A. Johnson, Nucl. Phys. A503, 285 (1989).
"Natural-Parity States in Superdeformed Bands and Pseudo-SU(3) Symmetry at Extreme Conditions," W. Nazarewicz, P.J. Twin,
P. Fallon and J.D. Garrett, Phys. Rev. Lett. 64, 1654 (1990).
"Dynamical Symmetries, Multiclustering and Octupole Susceptibility in Super- and Hyperdeformed Nuclei," W. Nazarewicz and J. Dobaczewski,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 68, 154 (1991).
"Nuclear Shell Structure at Particle Drip Lines," J. Dobaczewski, I.
Hamamoto, W. Nazarewicz, and J.A. Sheikh, Phys. Rev. Lett. 72, 981 (1994).
"Intrinsic Reflection Asymmetry in Atomic Nuclei," P. Butler and W.
Nazarewicz, Rev. Mod. Phys. 68, 349 (1996).
"Shape coexistence and triaxiality in the superheavy nuclei," S. Cwiok, P.H. Heenen, and W. Nazarewicz, Nature 433, 705 (2005).
"Shell model in the complex energy plane," N. Michel, W. Nazarewicz, M. Ploszajczak, and T. Vertse, J. Phys. G (Topical Review) 36, 013101 (2009).
"The limits of the nuclear landscape," J. Erler, N. Birge, M. Kortelainen, W. Nazarewicz, E. Olsen, A.M. Perhac, and M. Stoitsov, Nature 486, 509 (2012).
"Information content of a new observable: The case of the nuclear neutron skin," P.-G. Reinhard and W. Nazarewicz, Phys. Rev. C 81, 051303(R) (2010).
"Nuclear energy density optimization: Large deformations," M. Kortelainen, J. McDonnell, W. Nazarewicz, P.-G. Reinhard, J. Sarich, N. Schunck, M.V. Stoitsov, and and S. M. Wild, Phys. Rev. C 85, 024304 (2012).
"Neutron and weak-charge distributions of the 48Ca nucleus," G. Hagen, A. Ekström, C. Forssén, G. R. Jansen, W. Nazarewicz, T. Papenbrock, K. A. Wendt, S. Bacca, N. Barnea, B. Carlsson, C. Drischler, K. Hebeler, M. Hjorth-Jensen, M. Miorelli, G. Orlandini, A. Schwenk, and J. Simonis, Nature Physics 12, 186 (2016).
Pairing Nambu-Goldstone modes within nuclear density functional
theory", N. Hinohara and W. Nazarewicz, Phys. Rev. Lett. 116,
"Challenges in nuclear structure theory," W. Nazarewicz,
J. Phys. G 43, 044002 (2016).
"Electron and Nucleon Localization Functions of Oganesson: Approaching the Thomas-Fermi Limit," P. Jerabek, B. Schuetrumpf, P. Schwerdtfeger, and W. Nazarewicz, Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 053001 (2018).
"The limits of nuclear mass and charge, W. Nazarewicz, Nature Phys. 14, 537 (2018).
" Colloquium: Superheavy elements: Oganesson and beyond,
S. A. Giuliani, Z. Matheson, W. Nazarewicz, E. Olsen, P.-G. Reinhard, J. Sadhukhan, B. Schuetrumpf, N. Schunck, and P. Schwerdtfeger, Rev. Mod. Phys. 91, 011001 (2019).
"Neutron Drip Line in the Ca Region from Bayesian Model Averaging,
L. Neufcourt, Y. Cao, W. Nazarewicz, E. Olsen, and F. Viens, Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 062502 (2019).
"Convenient location of a near-threshold proton-emitting resonance in 11-B,
J. Okolowicz, M. Ploszajczak, and W. Nazarewicz, Phys. Rev. Lett. 124, 042502 (2020).
"Information content of the parity-violating asymmetry in 208-Pb,
P.-G. Reinhard, X. Roca-Maza, and W. Nazarewicz, Phys. Rev. Lett. 127, 232501 (2021).
"Neutron Evidence of Two-Source King Plot Nonlinearity in Spectroscopic Search for New Boson,
J. Hur, D. P. L. Aude Craik, E. Knyazev, I. Counts, L. Caldwell,
C. Leung, S. Pandey, J. C. Berengut, A. Geddes, W. Nazarewicz,
P.-G. Reinhard, A. Kawasaki, H. Jeon, W. Jhe, and V. Vuletic, Phys. Rev. Lett. 128, 163201 (2022).
"Colloquium: Machine Learning in Nuclear Physics,
A. Boehnlein, M. Diefenthaler, C. Fanelli, M. Hjorth-Jensen, T. Horn, M. P. Kuchera, D. Lee, W. Nazarewicz, K. Orginos, P. Ostroumov, L.-G. Pang, A. Poon, N. Sato, M. Schram, A. Scheinker, M. S. Smith,X.-N. Wang, V. Ziegler, Rev. Mod. Phys. 94, 031003 (2022).
Read More about Professor Nazarewicz and His Work
Recorded Lectures and Podcasts (selected)
"The limits of the nuclear landscape", March 2016, KU Physics & Astronomy Colloquium Series
"Niezwykłe własności jąder superciężkich i ich atomów" (in Polish), Sep. 2017. 44. Zjazd Fizyków Polskich
"Is there an end to the Periodic table?", March 2019. 44. Advanced Studies Gateway at FRIB Saturday Morning Physics Public Lecture
"Is there an end to the Periodic table of elements?", May 2019. 44. Director's Lecture, ORNL
PIASA Award lecture on "Designer Nuclei: Connecting Femtoworld with the Universe", Oct. 20, 2022. The Kosciuszko Foundation and The Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences of America
"FRIB: Bringing Cosmic Elements to Earth", Dec. 22, 2022. The Sounds of Science Podcast, ORNL
"Nuclear deformation: origin and properties," INT program INT-23-1A, January 23, 2023
Pictures of Witek's group
Rare Isotope Research
Superheavy Element/Nuclei Research
- UTK: the blueprint for a brand new element
- Super-Heavy Nuclei Take Shape in 'Extreme' New Theories (ORNL News Release, 2005)
- Nature News
- Discovery of 'Missing' Element 117 Hints at Stable Isotopes to Come (Science)
- Gazata Wyborcza (in Polish)
- PAP: Polish Press Agency
- Uut and Uup Add Their Atomic Mass To Periodic Table (New York Times)
- Element 118, Heaviest Ever, Reported for 1,000th of a Second (New York Times)
Livermorium goes down in the history books
- Superheavy Element 117 Points to Fabled “Island of Stability” on Periodic Table (Scientific American)
- Nuclear Physics A, Special Issue on Superheavy Elements
- When Will We Reach the End of the Periodic Table? (Smithsonian.com)
- What it takes to make a new element (Chemistry world, January 2017, Volume 14, issue 1, pages 22-32)
- At the inauguration ceremony of the new elements of the Periodic table of D.I. Mendeleev
- Flerov Prize (CERN Courier)
- Radio Lublin (in Polish): Scientists search for new elements
- Our paper on
Electron and Nucleon Localization Functions of Oganesson: Approaching the Thomas-Fermi Limit by the Massey/MSU collaboration was featured as Physics Viewpoint: Heaviest Element Has Unusual Shell Structure. It was also featured on the cover of Phys. Rev. Lett. 120(5) issue, and also by
and many international news outlets.
- Is there an end to the periodic table? See also related articles:
Here's the mind-boggling reason the periodic table doesn't seem to have an end
and Will the periodic table ever be complete?
See the full coverage here.
- This heavy element has a football-shaped atomic nucleus (Science News)
Examining future challenges for periodic table
- Pushing the periodic table past its limits (Science)
Prospecting the periodic table (Science News)
Video: What lies at the end of the periodic table? (C&EN)
Lightest uranium isotope yet reveals nuclear stability secrets (Chemistry World)
Current Events (Selected)