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

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 (September 3rd 2018)

FRIB and the GW170817 kilonova

In July 2018 an FRIB Theory Alliance program was held on the implications of GW170817 and its associated kilonova for r-process nucleosynthesis. Topics of discussion included the astrophysical and nuclear physics uncertainties in the interpretation of the GW170817 kilonova, what we can learn about the astrophysical site or sites of the r process from this event, and the advances...

Select Papers

Californium-254 and kilonova light curves

Y. Zhu et al.
ApJL 863 2 - Published August 14th 2018
Neutron star mergers offer unique conditions for the creation of the heavy elements and additionally provide a testbed for our understanding of this synthesis known as the $r$-process. We have performed dynamical nucleosynthesis calculations and identified a single isotope, $^{254}$Cf, which has a particularly high impact on the brightness of electromagnetic transients associated with mergers on the order of 15 to 250 days. This is due to the anomalously long half-life of this isotope and the efficiency of fission thermalization compared to other nuclear channels. We estimate the fission fragment yield of this nucleus and outline the astrophysical conditions under which $^{254}$Cf has the greatest impact to the light curve. Future observations in the middle-IR which are bright during this regime could indicate the production of actinide...

The influence of neutron capture rates in the rare earth region of the $r$-process abundance pattern

M. Mumpower, G. C. McLaughlin, R. Surman
Phys. Rev. C, 86 035803 - Published September 17th 2012
We study the sensitivity of the $r$-process abundance pattern to neutron capture rates along the rare earth region ($A\sim150$ to $A\sim180$). We introduce the concepts of large nuclear flow and flow saturation which determine the neutron capture rates that are influential in setting the rare earth abundances. We illustrate the value of the two concepts by considering high entropy conditions favorable for rare earth peak production and identifying important neutron capture rates among the rare earth isotopes. We also show how these rates influence nuclear flow and specific sections of the abundance...


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.