Heavy Ion Collisions & the Creation of New Elements

ArtistMeldos from Meldar Murals
ScientistJoe Walshe
Scientist PositionPostdoctoral Fellow, Research School of Physics & Engineering, ANU

Heavy Ion Collisions & the Creation of New Elements

New elements are created in laboratories by colliding existing materials at high energy, but first we must understand why they stick together in some cases and break apart in others. Studying very small nuclei requires very large accelerators, and we find that sometimes they behave like billiard balls, other times like drops of water, and yet other times like nothing else we know of. At the ANU we use our state of the art accelerators and detector systems to improve our understanding of the nucleus in order to reduce the time it takes to create new elements from many years to only a few months! Working with an artist has been a great opportunity to see science that is normally more numerical than visual brought to life.