APS News

DNP Workshops Explore Transition Physics, Education Reform

The APS Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) organized two workshops on October 25, just prior to, but in conjunction with, its annual fall meeting in Bloomington, Indiana. The first was on physics at the transition, and the second focused on the changing goals for graduate education in nuclear physics.

The "transition" regime in the strong interactions spans energies from where a purely baryon and meson description is appropriate, to where a perturbative description in terms of quarks and gluons emerges. The purpose of the workshop on transitions was to elucidate the complementarity of the research programs at several electron and hadron facilities. A systemic exploration of the transition regime will be the specific mission of new and proposed accelerators at CEBAF, ELFE, COSY and Light-Ion Spin Synchrotron.

Experiments at these facilities will provide crucial tests of QCD models of hadron structure, and will explore the interface between non-perturbative and perturbative QCD descriptions of hadron interactions. Topics covered during the workshop included physics near the strange and charm production thresholds, flavor dependence of the quark sea in nucleons and nuclei, the search for QCD exotica, the search for color transparency, charmed hybrid mesons, and the search for parity and time-reversal violations between hadrons.

The workshop on graduate education addressed potential changes in the graduate education of nuclear physicists to meet the challenges of the future. While similar questions are being addressed in a wider context elsewhere by the APS and other organizations, workshop organizers said that the DNP workshop allowed professionals and students to discuss the particular ramifications for nuclear physicists of the changing environment in which physicists work and live.

The workshop featured a panel discussion, moderated by APS Executive Officer Judy Franz, summarizing various perspectives of the issue, including those of graduate student organizations, research universities, industry, and more teaching-oriented institutions. Participants then broke into discussion groups to explore such topics as alternate minors, matching training with employment opportunities, the role of funding agencies in graduate education reform, and how much and what type of teaching might be required. The program concluded with an open discussion led by panel members, and an informal reception for the participants.


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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin