Theoretical Nuclear & Particle Physics

Theoretical investigations of nuclear and particle phenomena probe the most fundamental laws governing what matter is and how it behaves. How do the most fundamental particles known bind together to form nucleons?

Matter is composed of atoms and molecules, atoms are made of electrons and nuclei, nuclei are built from nucleons, and the constituents of nucleons are quarks. The theory of the force responsible for the binding of quarks into nucleons is called Quantum Chromodynamics, or QCD.

Duke theorists investigate QCD from three broad points of view: the derivation of effective quark interactions from first principles; the behavior of elementary particles under extreme conditions; and reactions of particles and nuclei at high densities and temperatures.

We participate in international collaborations with many universities, including Osaka University (Japan), Nagoya University (Japan), and the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (Calcutta, India), as well as universities in Bern (Switzerland),  Frankfurt (Germany) and Regensburg (Germany).

We also interact closely with nuclear theory and experimental groups at North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina, with whom we run the bi-weekly Triangle Nuclear Theory Colloquium. Our work impacts the experimental programs at TUNL/HIGS, ORNL, NISTLHC, RHIC, FAIR, Jefferson Lab, KEK and BES (Beijing).