Energy Department Funds $10 Million University Nuclear Research Center

LSU physicist among the two dozen researchers funded

Thursday, July 5, 2018


BATON ROUGE – LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Assistant Professor Scott Marley is part of a university consortium that has been awarded a five-year, $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to establish and implement the Center for Excellence in Nuclear Training and University-based Research, or CENTAUR. CENTAUR’s mission is to provide the research experience necessary to develop the next generation of leaders in stewardship science in the area of low-energy nuclear science in support of the workforce and research needs relevant to the NNSA mission. Marley’s work with CENTAUR will involve using nuclear reactions to study the structure of atomic nuclei near the limits of stability.

“Some of the most exotic nuclei are isotopes of light elements that possess only a few protons and neutrons,” Marley said. “The properties of these light-mass nuclei are key to understanding how the strong nuclear force manifests itself and are necessary to test modern nuclear structure theories.”

Along with about two dozen CENTAUR collaborators, Marley and a LSU graduate student will perform experiments using the rare isotope beams produced at the Cyclotron Institute at Texas A&M University and the John D. Fox Accelerator Facility at Florida State University.

CENTAUR will pursue basic research in low-energy nuclear science through experimental, theoretical and technical programs with support from the Stewardship Science Academic Alliances, or SSAA, Centers of Excellence program grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, or DOE/NNSA. The center will be based at Texas A&M University.

“The facilities of the Cyclotron Institute and all partners will be available for research and training of all CENTAUR participants — graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, academic partners and national laboratories personnel who are collaborating with center-affiliated faculty,” said Texas A&M Regents Professor of Chemistry and Cyclotron Institute Director Sherry J. Yennello, who serves as the principal investigator for CENTAUR. “The nation needs a nuclear workforce, and CENTAUR is well-positioned by design to play a role in helping to build it, based on its collective resources and shared expertise at all critical levels of the process.”

One of the center’s major contributions will be research and development expertise related to neutron detectors, which are relevant for both low-energy nuclear science and nuclear security applications. CENTAUR is equally committed to building upon the consortium’s collective tradition of service as an invaluable technical resource and fertile training ground for the nation’s nuclear workforce and future science stewardship leaders.

CENTAUR is a collaboration between LSU, Texas A&M University, Florida State University, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Washington, University of Notre Dame, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory.


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Contact Mimi LaValle
LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy



Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations


Shana K. Hutchins
Texas A&M University College of Science



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