Celebrating an MSU milestone in nuclear science

Michigan State University not only has the nation’s top nuclear physics program, it’s also home to one of the field’s most prolific authors, B. Alex Brown.

The professor of physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, who also works at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, or NCSL, has published over 800 papers during his career. But it’s not just the quantity of his work that’s remarkable. In fact, he published a paper 30 years ago that still shapes the way people talk about nuclear science today.

The prominent journal Physical Review C is featuring that paper in a special collection of articles “that remain central to developments in the field of nuclear physics.” The journal, launched in 1970, is curating these pivotal works to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Working with his longtime collaborator Ernest Warburton, a senior physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, as well as staff scientist John Becker at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Brown helped explain an unexpected twist in modern nuclear theory. The team also gave researchers a way to talk about the new science.

“We didn’t just explain it. We didn’t just write a paper about it,” Brown said. “We gave it a name.”

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