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MSU Nuclear Physicist Earns DOE Early Career Award

Heiko Hergert

An MSU researcher has received a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Early Career Research Program award.

Heiko Hergert, an MSU assistant professor of physics with a joint appointment in the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, was selected by the Office of Nuclear Physics for his proposal, “Advanced Ab Initio Methods for Nuclear Structure.”

The program, in its eighth year, awards financial support to scientists from universities and DOE national labs to help advance their research. Research proposals are peer-reviewed and selected by one of the following six offices: Advanced Scientific Computing, Biological and Environmental Research, Basic Energy Sciences, Fusion Energy Sciences, High Energy Physics, and Nuclear Physics. Out of about 700 proposals, fifty-nine were selected for the 2017 fiscal year.

Heiko’s research focuses on using novel theoretical methods and large-scale computer simulations to model nuclei based on the fundamental interactions between the protons and neutrons they are made of.

“The exotic nuclei that FRIB will be able to produce are excellent laboratories for teasing out the fine details of these fundamental interactions,” Heiko said. “By confronting our calculations with new experimental data, we will be able to close important gaps in our understanding.” Reliable simulations of such nuclei require theoretical and computational advances whose development are a central goal of his Early Career Research proposal.

Heiko earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees from Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany. In 2009, he began his postdoctoral research at NSCL before transitioning to Ohio State University to continue his postdoctoral research.

From 2014 to 2015, he worked as a theory fellow at NSCL/FRIB and in 2015 he became an assistant professor of physics.

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