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Research at the Frontier of Nuclear Physics

All known matter in the universe is made of electrons, protons and neutrons (dark matter is not yet known). Only electrons are fundamental, that is indivisible, particles. In the atomic nucleus, both protons and neutrons are made of a "soup" of quarks and gluons, with the most striking feature of nuclear matter is that their interactions "create" their own mass. In fact, it is now known that protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus are different from their counterparts by themselves. Both the strong force, and it's dressed counterpart the nuclear force, fundamentally construct atomic nuclei in collaboration with the sea of quarks. 

The picture summarized above was built on  three generations of nuclear physics experiments. Four pillars form its foundation: nuclear excitations are of much lower energy than the binding energy of nucleons; nuclear matter density has a maximum value no nuclei surpasses; the charge distribution of protons corresponds to a "diffuse" gas of internal particles (partons); and finally, the charge distribution of protons in nuclei is different than that of pure protons. 

We have not yet built a cohesive picture of nuclear matter that can address all four experimental pillars from the fundamental components of the Standard Model, quarks and gluons.  All four pillars are actively under research in several nuclear physics facilities around the world, including several Dr. Madurga performs his research, ISOLDE (CERN) and the upcoming Facility for Rare Ion Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University.

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