3. Doubly-Magic Tin and HRIBF in the News
(W. Nazarewicz, HRIBF Scientific Director)
A recent paper published in Nature reporting the results of transfer studies at HRIBF on the doubly-magic 132Sn, the nucleus sometimes called a Cinderella of the periodic table, has attracted great interest and been reported in a wide circle of public media. The team, led by Kate Jones and involving physicists from the University of Tennessee, Rutgers University, ORNL, Tennessee Technological University, Michigan State University, Ohio University, Colorado School of Mines, and University of Surrey, demonstrated for the first time that 132Sn is probably the best closed-shell nucleus. NATURE provided a commentary in the News & Views section of the same issue, explaining in layman terms the significance of the discovery. Following the publications, ORNL, UT, Tennessee Tech, NSCL, and Rutgers issued press releases. The work was also reported in Science Daily, Physics World, and in Physics Today as a cover article (August 2010 issue). For more details about the experiment and related science, see YouTube Interview with Kate Jones. Congratulations to the team on the outstanding result!
Cover picture of the August 2010 issue of Physics Today, showing the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's 25-megavolt tandem electrostatic accelerator, seen here rising 30 meters to the ceiling of its domed pressure vessel. The tandem accelerator can produce the highest-energy beams among all the existing electrostatic accelerators in the world. In the experiment described on page 16 of the August 2010 issue of the magazine, it accelerated a beam of short-lived tin-132 ions to 630 MeV. The experimenters sought to test whether the 132Sn nucleus, with magic numbers of both protons and neutrons, does indeed have the "doubly magic" properties predicted for it by the shell model of nuclear-structure theory.