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

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 (November 7th 2016)

Beta decay of deformed $r$-process nuclei near $A\sim 80$ and $A\sim 160$, including odd-$A$ and odd-odd nuclei, with the Skyrme finite-amplitude method

After identifying the nuclei in the regions near $A=80$ and $A=160$ for which $\beta$-decay rates have the greatest effect on weak and main $r$-process abundance patterns, we apply the finite-amplitude method (FAM) with Skyrme energy-density functionals (EDFs) to calculate $\beta$-decay half-lives of those nuclei in the quasiparticle random-phase approximation (QRPA). We...

Select Papers

The impact of individual nuclear properties on $r$-process nucleosynthesis

M. Mumpower, R. Surman, G. C. McLaughlin, A. Aprahamian
PPNP 86 86-126 - Published February 21st 2016
The astrophysical rapid neutron capture process or '$r$ process' of nucleosynthesis is believed to be responsible for the production of approximately half the heavy element abundances found in nature. This multifaceted problem remains one of the greatest open challenges in all of physics. Knowledge of nuclear physics properties such as masses, $\beta$-decay and neutron capture rates, as well as $\beta$-delayed neutron emission probabilities are critical inputs that go into calculations of $r$-process nucleosynthesis. While properties of nuclei near stability have been established, much still remains unknown regarding neutron-rich nuclei far from stability that may participate in the $r$ process. Sensitivity studies gauge the astrophysical response of a change in nuclear physics input(s) which allows for the isolation of the most important nuclear properties that shape the final abundances observed in nature. This review summarizes the extent of recent sensitivity studies and highlights how these studies play a key role in facilitating new insight into the $r$ process. The development of these tools promotes a focused effort for state-of-the-art measurements, motivates construction of new facilities and will ultimately move the community towards addressing the grand challenge of 'How were the elements from iron...

Sensitivity studies for a main $r$ process: $\beta$-decay rates

M. Mumpower, J. Cass, G. Passucci, R. Surman, A. Aprahamian
AIP Advances 4, 041009 - Published February 25th 2014
The pattern of isotopic abundances produced in rapid neutron capture, or $r$-process, nucleosynthesis is sensitive to the nuclear physics properties of thousands of unstable neutron-rich nuclear species that participate in the process. It has long been recognized that the some of the most influential pieces of nuclear data for $r$-process simulations are $\beta$-decay lifetimes. In light of experimental advances that have pushed measurement capabilities closer to the classic $r$-process path, we revisit the role of individual $\beta$-decay rates in the $r$ process. We perform $\beta$-decay rate sensitivity studies for a main ($A>120$) $r$ process in a range of potential astrophysical scenarios. We study the influence of individual rates during $(n,\gamma)$-$(\gamma,n)$ equilibrium and during the post-equilibrium phase where material moves back toward stability. We confirm the widely accepted view that the most important lifetimes are those of nuclei along the $r$-process path for each astrophysical scenario considered. However, we find in addition that individual $\beta$-decay rates continue to shape the final abundance pattern through the post-equilibrium phase, for as long as neutron capture competes with $\beta$ decay. Many of the lifetimes important for this phase of...


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.