$\frac{E_{bind}}{c^2}=a_1A-a_2A^{2/3}-a_3\frac{Z(Z-1)}{A^{1/3}}-a_4\frac{(N-Z)^2}{A}+\epsilon a_5A^{-3/4}$

Matthew Mumpower

Postdoctoral Research Fellow @ Los Alamos National Lab

About Me

I'm a theoretical physicist working at Los Alamos National Lab. I received my PhD at North Carolina State University under the direction of Gail McLaughlin. My research interests are in nuclear and particle astrophysics. I currently study the interplay between nuclear physics and astrophysical environments in the rapid neutron capture or $r$-process nucleosynthesis.

Nucleosynthesis is the study of the processes by which chemical elements are synthesized in cosmic environments. Another way to say this is that I focus on how the elements on the periodic table were created. This field is extremely challenging and also very rewarding with many real world applications. Check out the research section of this website for more information.

I firmly believe that practicing in scientific inquiry is both empowering and a necessary requirement for success in today's world. You can learn more about my teaching efforts in the teach section of this website.

Outside of Physics I enjoy keeping up with latest technology trends and coming up with unique solutions to challenging problems. For more about my entrepreneurial endeavours check out Solace Development Group. In my free time I try to stay in shape by playing racquetball. If you are interested in a game, shoot me an e-mail.

Latest Paper (December 21st 2016)

The link between rare earth peak formation and the astrophysical site of the $r$ process

The primary astrophysical source of the rare earth elements is the rapid neutron capture process ($r$ process). The rare earth peak that is seen in the solar $r$-process residuals has been proposed to originate as a pile-up of nuclei during the end of the $r$ process. We introduce a new method utilizing Monte Carlo studies of nuclear masses...

Select Papers

The impact of individual nuclear masses on $r$-process abundances

M. Mumpower, R. Surman, D.-L. Fang, M. Beard, P. Möller, T. Kawano, A. Aprahamian
Phys. Rev. C 92 035807 - Published September 15th 2015
We have performed for the first time a comprehensive study of the sensitivity of $r$-process nucleosynthesis to individual nuclear masses across the chart of nuclides. Using the latest version (2012) of the Finite-Range Droplet Model, we consider mass variations of $\pm0.5$ MeV and propagate each mass change to all affected quantities, including $Q$-values, reaction rates, and branching ratios. We find such mass variations can result in up to an order of magnitude local change in the final abundance pattern produced in an $r$-process simulation. We identify key nuclei whose masses have a substantial impact on abundance predictions for hot, cold, and neutron star merger $r$-process scenarios and could be measured at future radioactive beam...

The rare earth peak: an overlooked $r$-process diagnostic

M. Mumpower, G. C. McLaughlin, R. Surman
ApJ, 752, 117 - Published June 4th 2012
The astrophysical site or sites responsible for the $r$-process of nucleosynthesis still remains an enigma. Since the rare earth region is formed in the latter stages of the $r$-process it provides a unique probe of the astrophysical conditions during which the $r$-process takes place. We use features of a successful rare earth region in the context of a high entropy $r$-process ($S\gtrsim100k_B$) and discuss the types of astrophysical conditions that produce abundance patterns that best match meteoritic and observational data. Despite uncertainties in nuclear physics input, this method effectively constrains astrophysical...


In my free time I play competitive racquetball. I was one of the top ranked players of the North Carolina State University Racquetball Club from 2008 to 2012. I designed their website which you can find an image of right here.