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Surrey Nuclear Physicists Win £3 Million for Basic Research

The University of Surrey’s nuclear physicists are celebrating the award of two new major grants that will provide £3m to underpin their research for the next three-to-five years.

The funding will particularly assist in their efforts at the leading European facilities FAIR/GSI at Darmstadt in Germany and SPIRAL2 at Caen in France. The research will probe the properties and reactions of short-lived atomic nuclei, and help to explain how stars evolve and explode.

The new grants include £2.3m for a rolling grant awarded by the new Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). This is Surrey’s first major STFC grant and will fund the baseline programme of both experimental and theoretical nuclear physics. Both activities have leading roles in projects currently underway at GSI, and the work will also consolidate a strong theory collaboration with Michigan State University in the USA and experimental links with CERN/ISOLDE in Switzerland.

Professor Phil Walker, the Principal Investigator on the rolling grant, said: “This type of grant allows us to plan our research on a longer time scale and gives us a stable platform for launching additional initiatives. Surrey has been exceptionally successful in this first round of STFC grants, which is a strong endorsement of our position as one of the largest and foremost nuclear physics groups in the UK.”

Professor Jeff Tostevin, who leads the theory activity, commented: “It is gratifying that our proposal for developing new and fundamental innovations in theory was strongly supported, as well as our work that is directly related to the interpretation of current experiments”.

An additional grant of £0.7M, awarded under the EU Framework 7 programme supporting major research infrastructure in Europe, is aimed at building the research community for the new facility SPIRAL2, now being built at GANIL in Caen.

Professor Wilton Catford, the Principal Investigator on the SPIRAL2 grant, commented: “Surrey already has a high profile in the research programme at GANIL, which is why we have been charged with coordinating the community-building activity across Europe in preparation for the start-up of SPIRAL2 in 2013. With these two grants, we are well placed at the two leading European facilities, FAIR and SPIRAL2”.

To build on this, CNRP physicists have also proposed major new equipment investments through STFC, particularly for the future FAIR facility at GSI. The outcome of these additional bids will soon be announced.

Surrey nuclear physics operates within the Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Physics within FEPS.

Stuart Miller | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: GSI Nuclear SPIRAL2 STFC atomic nuclei nuclear physicists

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