$U(r)=-\frac{W_0r_0}{r}\exp\left(-\frac{r}{r_0}\right)$
$\frac{E_{bind}}{c^2}=a_1A-a_2A^{2/3}-a_3\frac{Z(Z-1)}{A^{1/3}}-a_4\frac{(N-Z)^2}{A}+\epsilon a_5A^{-3/4}$
$R=R_0\left[1+\sum_{lm}a_{lm}Y_l^m(\theta,\varphi)\right]$

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 (September 23rd 2016)

Reverse engineering nuclear properties from rare earth abundances in the $r$ process

The bulk of the rare earth elements are believed to be synthesized in the rapid neutron capture process or $r$ process of nucleosynthesis. The solar $r$-process residuals show a small peak in the rare earths around $A\sim 160$, which is proposed to be formed dynamically during the end phase of the $r$ process by a pileup of material....

Select Papers

Experimental neutron capture rate constraint far from stability

S. Liddick, et al.
PRL 116, 242502 - Published June 16th 2016
Nuclear reactions where an exotic nucleus captures a neutron are critical for a wide variety of applications, from energy production and national security, to astrophysical processes, and nucleosynthesis. Neutron capture rates are well constrained near stable isotopes where experimental data are available; however, moving far from the valley of stability, uncertainties grow by orders of magnitude. This is due to the complete lack of experimental constraints, as the direct measurement of a neutron-capture reaction on a short-lived nucleus is extremely challenging. Here, we report on the first experimental extraction of a neutron capture reaction rate on $^{69}$Ni, a nucleus that is five neutrons away from the last stable isotope of Ni. The implications of this measurement on nucleosynthesis around mass 70 are discussed, and the impact of similar future measurements on the understanding of the origin of the heavy elements in the cosmos is...

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

M. Mumpower, G. C. McLaughlin, R. Surman, A. W. Steiner
arXiv - Published March 8th 2016
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 in the rare earth region, that includes self-consistently adjusting $\beta$-decay rates and neutron capture rates, to find the mass surfaces necessary for the formation of the rare earth peak. We demonstrate our method with two types of astrophysical scenarios, one corresponding conditions typical of core-collapse supernova winds and one corresponding to conditions typical of the ejection of the material from the tidal tails of neutron star mergers. In each type of astrophysical conditions, this method successfully locates a region of enhanced stability in the mass surface that is responsible for the rare earth peak. For each scenario, we find that the change in the mass surface has qualitatively different features, thus future measurements can shed light on the type of environment in which the $r$ process...

Racquetball

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.