Colloquium: A Journey Inside a Neutron Star

Wednesday 8 May 2019, 3.00PM

Speaker(s): Prof Dan Watts, Nuclear Physics Group, University of York

A Journey Inside a Neutron Star

Recent experimental research led by York is aiming to develop a deeper understanding of the basic properties of neutron stars, providing new constraints on their structure, cooling mechanisms and gravitational wave emission.  Such work is particularly timely due to the wealth of multi-messenger astronomical observations of neutron star mergers expected in the coming decades.  Our experimental research programme  exploits the world's leading gamma beam facilities in Europe (MAMI) and the USA (Jefferson Lab) to obtain new, precision constraints on the fundamental properties of strongly interacting matter to better understand the physics of neutron stars.

This talk will include our recent work revealing the nature of the "neutron skin" on the surface of heavy nuclei, which provides a femtoscale mini-laboratory for neutron star physics! The latest experimental evidence for a new particle in nature, the "d*" hexaquark, will also be presented. This particle not only provides new information for the emerging field of "non-standard" multiquark states but may also determine the upper mass limit for neutron stars! 
Our pure science programme also seeds new initiatives in medical and applied physics, some of which will be outlined in the talk.

Location: P/L 002