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 UWC runs experiments at European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN)

UWC runs experiments at European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN)

The nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics group at UWC is composed of over 50 members, mainly black South African postgraduate students. In May 2016 the UWC research team conducted its first experiments at CERN, to explain the deficit of mass 64 in the solar system, where there are two orders of magnitude missing from predictions in supernova nucleosynthesis. What if the missing abundance comes from X-ray bursts? This is not supposed to be the case as gravitational pull of a neutron star is huge. The nuclei that were studied at CERN are right on the rapid proton capture process (rp)-process path in X-ray bursts and were not expected to be produced at CERN!

These types of experiments are crucial to the future nuclear programme in South Africa, as they may also be used to measure the decay heat after reactor shutdown. The SA-CERN ISOLDE Agreement allows South African scientists to lead an experiment at CERN.  UWC’s leading experiment (IS-569) at CERN has finally been scheduled and is expected to run in week 45 (November) of 2016, under the leadership of Professor Nico Orce of the Physics department. For our own experiment, about ten well-trained UWC students, partially funded by CERN, will be part of the experimental team at CERN. These are the most exciting times to do Physics in South Africa. UWC's offer is arguably unbeatable: Solar and nuclear energy, in partnership with iThemba LABS, SKA and CERN. Join us. Join the dream!

Prof Nico Orce and the UWC nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics group acknowledge funding support from UWC, ISOLDE and the SA-CERN Collaboration.​


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