Dr. Yang Sun   

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   Department of Physics
   University of Notre Dame
   Notre Dame, IN 46556

   Phone: (574) 631-7197
   Fax: (574) 631-5952



One of the current research frontiers in nuclear physics is the study of unstable nuclei. This research links Astrophysics and Nuclear Physics together because unstable nuclei are crucially involved in various astrophysical events such as supernovae and X-ray bursts. New many-body quantum effects are expected to occur in these less-known nuclei. It is a great challenge for existing nuclear theories that have been designed mainly for stable nuclei to apply to unstable nuclei. Dr. Sun's theoretical work is devoted to the study of these new nuclear mass regions.

Nuclear isomer is a special excited state, in which structure effects inhibit its decay and endow it with a lifetime that is remarkably longer than expected. It may be regarded as a storage of nuclear energy. The challenge and potential for scientific discovery today lie in the understanding of the formation of nuclear isomers (through a better comprehension of nuclear structure), the ability to excite and de-excite isomers at will for a broad range of applications, and the exploration of nuclei with isomeric states in nuclear astrophysics. Nuclear isomer study is another main focus in Dr. Sun's research.

Dr. Sun's major contribution to the modern nuclear theory is made through his work on the development of the Projected Shell Model. His model solves the nuclear many-body problem by the special projection techniques, and this model has become a powerful standard method for understanding nuclear data measured in major nuclear laboratories worldwide. The algorithms developed for the Projected Shell Model have found a broad application in the modern computation for medium to heavy nuclei, and for other quantum many-body systems in general.