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

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

Improving $r$-process calculations for the rare-earth abundance peak via mass measurements at JYFLTRAP

M. Vilen et al.
PRL 120, 262701 - Published June 29th 2018
The rare-earth peak in the $r$-process abundance pattern depends sensitively on both the astrophysical conditions and subtle changes in nuclear structure in the region. This work takes an important step elucidating the nuclear structure and reducing the uncertainties in $r$-process calculations via precise atomic mass measurements at the JYFLTRAP double Penning trap. $^{158}$Nd, $^{160,162}$Pm, and $^{164-166}$Gd have been measured for the first time and the precisions for $^{156}$Nd, $^{158}$Pm, $^{162,163}$Eu, $^{163}$Gd, and $^{164}$Tb have been improved considerably. The effect of the new mass values on the calculated $r$-process abundances has been studied for a neutron star merger scenario. Substantial changes in the abundances in the lanthanide region relevant for optical observations from neutron star mergers have been found. These are mainly due to lower neutron separation energies at $N=98,100$ and $102$ leading to smaller odd-even staggering than predicted by theoretical mass models. Two-neutron separation energies exhibit changes in their slopes after $N=96$ for the Nd ($Z=60$) and after $N= 100$ for the Gd ($Z=64$) isotopes but they do not support the existence of a subshell closure at...

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

M. Mumpower et al.
submitted - Published February 12th 2018
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 of the chart of nuclides where the probability of $\beta$-delayed fission is $\sim100$%, that likely prevents the production of superheavy elements in nature. For a subset of nuclei near the neutron dripline, neutron multiplicity and the probability of fission are both large, leading to the intriguing possibility of multi-chance $\beta$-delayed fission, a new decay mode for extremely neutron-rich heavy nuclei. In this new decay mode, $\beta$-decay can be followed by multiple neutron emission leading to subsequent daughter generations which each have a probability to fission. We explore the impact of $\beta$-delayed fission in rapid neutron capture process ($r$-process) nucleosynthesis in the tidal ejecta of a neutron star--neutron star merger and show that it is a key fission channel that shapes the final abundances near the second $r$-process...


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.