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New Inter-American Research Program to Promote Nuclear Science Research

The building blocks of all visible matter in the universe are gluons and quarks. They are explained by the theory of strong nuclear interactions — quantum chromodynamics (QCD).

New Inter-American Research Program to Promote Nuclear Science Research.
The image illustrates one of the QCD predictions physicists are interested in studying. As energy increases, protons are more likely to be formed of high-density gluon-saturated matter. This can help to answer other current challenges related to polarization features of nuclear targets. Image Credit: U.S. Department of Energy.

How observed properties in the universe develop from these interactions is still a mystery. Similar to how the understanding of atoms and their structure paved the way to the creation of very precise instruments like atomic clocks, physicists believe a better understanding of QCD will speed up numerous innovations in technology and science.

Addressing open questions in quantum chromodynamics is a global effort, with large and ambitious international projects in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The U.S. will be home to a unique next-generation facility for QCD — the Electron-Ion Collider — and it has a strong participation in international projects such as the CERN Large Hadron Collider.

Daniel Tapia Takaki, Associate Professor of Physics, University of Kansas

A new $250,000 project, called the Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations (AccelNet) program, will be headed by Tapia Takaki. The project aims to accelerate scientific discovery and ready the next generation of scientists from the United States for multiteam international partnerships.

The new AccelNet project is being financially supported jointly by the NSF AccelNet Program and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to support strategic links between the United States and research networks around the world to leverage educational and research resources and handle extraordinary scientific challenges that require a substantial synchronized global effort.

This design-track AccelNet project will focus on deeply fundamental questions like, ‘How did visible matter come into being, and how does it evolve? How does subatomic matter organize itself, and what phenomena emerge?’

Daniel Tapia Takaki, Associate Professor of Physics, University of Kansas

This project will focus on designing and establishing a ‘network of networks’ across the United States, Canada, and Latin America to accelerate the process of tackling QCD challenges in nuclear physics. It will enable the training of students, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career scientists in international multiteam nuclear physics projects that will have a strong participation of networks from this region,” added Takaki.

The KU scientist said these actions will boost the integration of nuclear physics communities across the Americas and also help identify ethics standards and scientific procedures for the U.S.-led network-to-network projects in nuclear physics.

This AccelNet project will work together with the international and domestic network collaborators on four main goals:

  • Form strategic collaborations across the different nuclear physics research networks in the Americas
  • Look for strengths, needs and synergies of network collaborators for creating U.S.-led large-scale nuclear science ventures
  • Improve the training of the next generation of scientists in nuclear physics in a fresh set of skills that include global multiteam experience
  • Formulate activities for scientists in Canada, the United States and Latin America that will enable making the most of complementary resources for the study of quantum chromodynamics

Tapia Takaki will act as the principal investigator, collaborating with the following co-principal investigators: Jean Delayen of Old Dominion University, Carlos Bertulani from Texas A&M University-Commerce, Christine Aidala of the University of Michigan and Abhay Deshpande from Stony Brook University.

We’re all very excited to design the Inter-American network of networks on QCD challenges. The design will be based on discussions and inputs from the nuclear physics community and the different network partners. It is also an honor for us at the University of Kansas to be leading the coordination of this new effort working closely with colleagues from various institutions, research centers, and national laboratories.

Daniel Tapia Takaki, Associate Professor of Physics, University of Kansas

Starting from September 1st, 2021, the new project will be financially supported for two years. The project is expected to utilize more resources to completely implement the program in the next few years.

To enable diverse network opportunities, the research themes will be broad, including research in theory, data analyses, high-performance computing, particle detectors and accelerator technologies, real-time event selection, as well as software and Monte Carlo simulation development.

Daniel Tapia Takaki, Associate Professor of Physics, University of Kansas

Applications of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and quantum technologies, will also be part of the coordination effort. The activities will include scientific retreats, meetings, workshops, and the development of a website to facilitate coordination. The project will also design and carry out exchange and mobility programs between networks in the U.S., Canada, and Latin American countries,” added Takaki.


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