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MSU Physics Faculty Research Featured in Nature

December 8, 2015

A research letter co-authored by a faculty member in Mississippi State's Department of Physics and Astronomy and High Performance Computing Collaboratory's Center for Computational Sciences has been selected for inclusion in Nature, the world's most highly cited interdisciplinary science journal.

"Ab initio alpha – alpha scattering" by associate professor Gautam Rupak and colleagues from North Carolina State University and Germany's Universität Bonn, Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Forschungszentrum Jülich is featured in the December 2015 issue and may be viewed at the following link: Nature

According to Nature's website, the 146-year-old international weekly journal is renowned for publishing the "finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology on the basis of its originality, importance, interdisciplinary interest, timeliness, accessibility, elegance and surprising conclusions."

"Providing rapid, authoritative, insightful and arresting news and interpretation of topical and coming trends affecting science, scientists and the wider public" also is among its primary missions.

In the letter, the team of researchers present the first ab initio calculation of the scattering of two alpha particles.

"Alpha particles, or helium nuclei, play a key role in the synthesis of elements within stars," the authors explain. "For example, carbon is produced by the triple-alpha reaction, and oxygen is generated by the capture of an alpha particle on carbon. An accurate description of alpha particles and their interactions is key to understanding how nature produces elements."

Rupak holds doctoral and master's degrees in physics from the University of Washington. A member of the American Physical Society, he also is a summa cum laude physics and mathematics graduate of Boston University.