Mark Nelson's pictureMark Nelson

Hope College

Dr. Mader

Supported by NSF-REU

This summer I used a computer to perform an experiment in nuclear physics. I used a numerical model entitled BUU to study the nuclear force. The assumptions within the model can be tested by comparing the results that the model gives from data gathered in a comparable physical experiment.. From the results of this testing, in the form of pi- spectra and correlation functions, it has been established that there is good agreement between measurement and model. The neat thing about doing this experiment on a computer is that it allows us to know everything about each particle all the time, an impossibility in physical experiments. This al lows us to see exactly what is happening on a microscopic level, not just what the detectors can see. In addition, work was started to repeat these calculations for additional particles, namely pi+'s and protons, to gather more information from the spectra and correlation functions of these particles about the time evolution of the system.

This summer was an opportunity for me to learn and "experience" the programming language FORTRAN for the first time. I am now able to write programs in FORTRAN just as i would write them in any other language that I know. Learning FORTRAN was nice, but the largest part of what I learned this summer was just some of the basics of nuclear physics. I learned a lot about what takes place when two nuclei collide, and significantly broadened my knowledge and understanding of nuclear physics at the quark-gluon level and above.