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

Matthew Mumpower

Staff Scientist @ 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. At the University of Notre Dame I worked under the direction of Ani Aprahamian and Rebecca Surman. My research interests are in nuclear structure and reaction mechanisms. The study of these models has a wide range of applicability from nuclear medicine, to stockpile stewardship and even the cosmos.

At Los Alamos we seek to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence. This means we not only apply our models to the task at hand, but we seek to push them to the limits by probing the edges of our knowledge with basic science research. One way I contribute to basic science research at the lab is to study the applicability of LANL nuclear models to nucleosynthesis. Nucleosynthesis is the study of the processes by which chemical elements are synthesized in cosmic environments. In other words, this part of my research focuses 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 (February 12th 2018)

$\beta$-delayed fission in $r$-process nucleosynthesis

We present $\beta$-delayed neutron emission and $\beta$-delayed fission calculations for heavy, neutron-rich nuclei using the coupled Quasi-Particle Random Phase Approximation plus Hauser-Feshbach (QRPA+HF) approach. From the initial population of a compound nucleus after $\beta$-decay, we follow the statistical decay taking into account competition between neutrons, $\gamma$-rays, and fission. We find a region...

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...

Formation of the rare earth peak: gaining insight into late-time $r$-process dynamics

M. Mumpower, G. C. McLaughlin, R. Surman
Phys. Rev. C, 85 045801 - Published April 2nd 2012
We study the formation and final structure of the rare earth peak ($A\sim160$) of the $r$-process nucleosynthesis. The rare earth peak forms at late times in the $r$-process after neutron exhaustion (neutron-to-seed ratio unity or $R=1$) as matter decays back to stability. Since rare earth peak formation does not occur during equilibrium it is sensitive to the strong interplay between late time thermodynamic evolution and nuclear physics input. Depending on the conditions the peak forms either because of the pattern of the neutron capture rates or because of the pattern of the separation energies. We analyze three nuclear data sets under different thermodynamic conditions. We find that the subtleties of each nuclear data set, including separation energies and neutron capture rates, influence not only the final shape of the peak but also when it forms. We identify the range of nuclei which are influential in rare earth peak...


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.