It is with mixed feelings that the PhD thesis now is coming to an end. With less than a month away from the dissertation, the thesis has now been published. The dissertation announcement along with the thesis may be found here:
Today’s Science, is a U.S.-based online science news service for high school and college students. Following a story based on the recent publication in Physical Review Letters: “Spectroscopy along Flerovium Decay Chains: Discovery of 280Ds and an Excited State in 282Cn.”, I was given the opportunity to answer some questions about my research. The interview has now been featured in their “Conversations with Scientists” section and can be read here: https://anton.samarkroth.se/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Todays-Science-Anton-Samark-Roth_-Looking-for-the-Island-of-Stability-.pdf
Our new publication Spectroscopy along Flerovium Decay Chains: Discovery of 280Ds and an Excited State in 282Cn in the journal Physical Review Letters provides exciting anchor points for nuclear theory and hints on the location of the long-sought “Island of Stability”. The paper was labeled ‘Editor’s Suggestion’ and featured in the APS journals Physics magazine. In addition, thanks to press releases issued by Lund University (see https://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/article/nuclear-physicists-voyage-towards-mythical-island) as well as from GSI, the publication has received a lot of attention. This is indicated with the Altmetric Attention Score of 170 as of Feb. 21, 2021, see https://aps.altmetric.com/details/98607563, which measures how much the research output is mentioned in media. For instance, of all outputs from Physical Review Letters, the publication is placed 250 out of about 31 000, see below.
In Sweden the debate on nuclear power (kärnkraft) is hot and so is the discussion on radiation (strålning) since the Chernobyl TV-series was released earlier this year.
I had the opportunity to speak about this in the Swedish radio station P3 and their morning show “Morgonpasset”.
2019 is the international year of the periodic table. It is said to be the chemist’s handbook, but despite myself being a physicist, a considerable amount of the attention in my research field is on the periodic table. In fact, since the invention of particle accelerators and the 1970s, physicists have played an important role in the synthesis and discovery of new elements.
By means of an experiment focussed on nuclear spectroscopy on decay chains of element 115 (now named moscovium), the Lund nuclear structure group, which I am now part of, was able to provide first direct measurements on the proton number of superheavy elements (by detection of characteristic x-rays) that otherwise do not connect to the rest of the known elements. The result strengthened the claim of the discovery of element 115. Thus, we are strongly committed and dedicated to the celebrations of the “International Year of the Periodic Table”.
The status of the research at the edge of the periodic table, is very well presented here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00285-9
Dedicated to the celebrations of the international year of the periodic table, Swedish state radio has made a mini-series on the periodic table. Me and my colleagues were interviewed and as a part of the last episode we explain the research on superheavy elements.
The episode can be found here (in Swedish): https://sverigesradio.se/avsnitt/1242855
Only in the recent months, two satires on the topic of nuclear energy has popped up. The first one was broadcasted on TV in the Netherlands at the end of last year, and just the other day another one appeared on Swedish state television. Is this a trend?
Anyhow, I find them entertaining. Enjoy!
Zondag met Lubach (with english subtitles):
Svenska Nyheter (no english subtitles):
Last week was a special week. As part of the Thorium Energy World organisation, I got to participate in the international Thorium Energy World Conference 2018. It was a 3 day conference held at the Natural Science Museum in Brussels. Since I got involved in the creation of a course on the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor, I have been following the development of the MSR technology. In brief, the conference included talks and discussions from startup companies and scientists working to make the MSR a realisation. The most inspirational was the possibility to casually talk to the MSR experts while having dinner in the evenings. I am not shy, so I asked all the questions that came to mind. In one word: awesome!
Besides the MSR experts, there were many like-minded, people with a genuine interest in the MSR, at the conference. I got to connect with different people, ranging from undergraduate students to people with many years of work experience. It was really fun and it uncovered some initiatives which promotes the MSR and nuclear energy and was unknown to me before. I thought I’d share some of these with you.
- The European Nuclear Young Generation Forum brings students and young professionals of the European nuclear industry together in big events. Next event is to be held in June 2019 in Ghent, Belgium: https://www.enygf.org/
- The Thorium MSR Foundation is a dutch organisation with the aim to educate people about the use of thorium in molten salt reactor technology. http://thmsr.nl/
- Progrès Nucléaire, a french organisation promoting nuclear energy: https://progresnucleaire.org/
- Fission Liquide, a grass-root organisation promoting MSRs: https://fissionliquide.fr/
Hallelujah, after about 2 years of work I published my first research article. You can enjoy it here https://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevC.98.044307.
In the process of writing the article I learned a lot, e.g. from my colleagues and by reading articles in my field of research. Simultaneously to the writing, I took the course Academic Writing at Lund University. This combined environment really set off the development of my writing skills. I would here like to share with you some of the things I am taking with me.
One example is the model CARS – Creating A Research Space. The model consists of three so called moves which can serve as a guide in writing the introduction to a research paper. You can read about the moves in the link above. Besides facilitating the writing of the introduction, the model can in a more general sense help defining a research project. I found it really useful.
As fiction, scientific articles is a type of writing genre. This became clearer and clearer over time. For instance, I learned that a certain language is used (this might seem obvious), the use of tense can have large effect on what is meant and writing in an active or a passive voice has its purpose.
Lastly, I came across some links that can be helpful in the writing process:
- General advice on academic writing: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
- Academic phrase-bank – when you are in need of some inspiration: http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk/
At the moment, China is the country in the world that invests the most on nuclear energy. They currently have 17 nuclear power plants under construction, which is huge in comparison to India which comes in second with 7 plants in construction [world-nuclear.org]. It is not just any type of reactors either, just a week ago the first AP1000 reactor, a generation III+, first of its kind, reached its full power [Chinese-AP1000-reaches-full-power-operation].
A lot of money also goes into research on new nuclear technology. Recently Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP) published promotional videos on their Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR) project. With over 400 researchers, the Chinese are making rapid progress. It’s truly inspiring. Let’s hope more countries are to follow.
For those of you interested in learning more about nuclear physics, I thought I’d share a pedagogic video. This animation visualises the chart of nuclides, which is the map of all nuclear species. In the video, some of the most important properties in nuclear physics are introduced. One such property is the magic numbers which are combinations of neutron or protons which display enhanced stability for the nucleus. The magic numbers are strongly connected to my PhD thesis. These are especially the predicted magic numbers of N=184 and Z~114-126 for superheavy nuclei which form the long-sought ‘Island of Stability’.