Ph.D., 1994 - University of North Carolina
Louisiana State University
Department of Physics & Astronomy
221-C Nicholson Hall, Tower Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-4001
Dr. Blackmon's research involves measurements of nuclear processes that play an important role in astrophysical environments. A major focus is currently on reactions involving short-lived radioactive nuclei that play an important role in stellar explosions such as novae and supernovae. Novae occur in binary star systems when matter from a companion star falls onto the surface of a white dwarf, burns explosively in an thermonuclear runaway, and ejects material at high speeds into space, but leaving the white dwarf and companion star intact. Supernovae are much more violent explosions, occurring when massive stars nearing the ends of their lives undergo a violent core collapse or when the mass of an accreting white dwarf star exceeds the Chandrasekhar mass limit of about 1.4 solar masses. The nuclear reactions occurring in supernovae are believed to have formed many of the elements found in the Galaxy. Experimental measurements are performed at the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University and at the ISAC Facility at TRIUMF in Vancouver, BC. Dr. Blackmon is also a part of the LENS Collaboration that is currently working to develop the first accurate direct measurement of the rate of nuclear energy production in the core of the sun by measuring the flux of low energy neutrinos from hydrogen fusion in the solar core. Measurements of weak interaction cross sections that are important in stellar explosions are also being developed using neutrinos from the Spallation Neutron Source.