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Physics – Calculating calcium-52

Topic: Materials

After running a simulation proving calcium-48 was a magic isotope, ORNL researchers were surprised to find experimental data and simulations that suggested calcium-52 was not magic, as expected.July 6, 2016 — A multi-institution team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Gaute Hagen used computation to corroborate experimental findings throwing calcium-52’s status as a magic isotope into question. “If calcium-52 was magic, you would expect there to be a dip or kink in the graph showing the charge radii of calcium isotopes at calcium-52,” Hagen said. “Our theory collaborators agreed with the experimental trend, and there were no signs of this kink.” Atomic nuclei make up the vast majority of visible matter in the universe, and understanding the interactions between the neutrons and protons that make up nuclei has an impact on research spanning from the subatomic realm to astrophysical objects such as neutron stars. Nuclei are considered to be magic if they are composed of a designated series of numbers that include 2, 8, 20, 28 and 50.