Experimental and theoretical nuclear structure physics. My research focuses on the structural evolution of the atomic nucleus as a function of the numbers of its constituent protons and neutrons including quantum phase transitions in nuclear shapes, the evolution of the underlying shell structure, and the emergence of collective behavior . One aim is to identify the remarkable regularities and simple patterns exhibited by these complex quantal many-body systems and to describe them in terms of the symmetries and quantum numbers applicable to the system as a whole. At the next level, we try to understand the origin of these regularities in terms of the interactions of the nucleons, especially the valence proton-neutron interaction. The experimental component of the research looks especially to the properties of newly accessible exotic nuclei far from the valley of stable nuclei
Sample references over the last decade:
- SU(3) Quasidynamical Symmetry Underlying the Alhassid-Whelan Arc of Regularity, Dennis Bonatsos, E.A. McCutchan and R.F. Casten, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104 (2010) 022502.
- Enhanced Sensitivity of Nuclear Binding Energies to Collective Structure, R. B. Cakirli, R. F. Casten, R. Winkler, K. Blaum and M. Kowalska, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102 (2009) 082501.
- Empirical Signature for Shape Transitions Mediated by Sub-shell Changes, R. B. Cakirli and R. F. Casten, Phys. Rev. (Rapid Communications) C 78 (2008) 041301(R).
- Direct Empirical Correlation Between Proton-Neutron Interaction Strengths and the Growth of Collectivity in Nuclei, R.B. Cakirli and R.F. Casten, Phys. Rev. Lett. 96 (2006) 132501.
- Empirical Realization of a Critical Point Description in Atomic Nuclei, R.F. Casten and N.V. Zamfir, Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 052503 (2001).
Misc. biographical details:
Winner 2011 Tom W. Bonner Prize (for studies of dynamical symmetries); Winner 2009 Mentoring Award of the APS/DNP (for mentoring female graduate students); Chair NSAC 2003-2005; Chair DNP(APS), 2008; Chair FRIB Science Advisory Comm; Editor, Phys. Rev. C for Exp. Nuclear Structure; over 10000 citations, h-index 50.