Education Initiatives [TALENT] [Survey courses]


The FRIB-TA mission includes enabling a broad, modern, and compelling educational curriculum addressing the nuclear many-body problem and related areas. A thorough knowledge of up-to-date theoretical methods and phenomenology will be required to tackle the theoretical and experimental challenges that will be faced by the next generation of nuclear physicists working in FRIB science.

Most university low-energy nuclear theory groups are small and, therefore, unable to offer a broad spectrum of advanced research-based nuclear physics courses. In addition, most universities do not offer a survey course in modern nuclear physics that highlights the broad scope of contemporary research in nuclear science, its many connections to other fields, and its impact on society. Fortunately, with recent advances in educational technologies, we are in a situation where globally coordinated efforts can make a significant qualitative difference in the way nuclear physics students are educated.

The FRIB-TA will work with the community and the TALENT initiative to improve education in nuclear theory. A separate project is the development of a survey course, with remote access so that any undergraduate student in the country can be exposed to the exciting topics addressed in nuclear physics today.

TALENT Initiative

The TALENT initiative, which stands for Training in Advanced Low-Energy Nuclear Theory, was created by nuclear physicists in North America and Europe to address the need for advanced theory courses. Since 2012, TALENT has offered two or three intensive three-week courses each year on a rotating set of topics. The long-term vision of TALENT is to develop a coherent graduate curriculum that will provide the foundations for a cross-cutting low-energy nuclear theory research program, and will link modern theoretical approaches with high-performance computing and on-going experimental efforts. TALENT links:

  • TALENT website --- look here for schedules of upcoming courses and materials from past courses.
  • The TALENT course Density Functional Theory and Self-Consistent Methods was held at the University of York in York, UK, from July 17 to August 6, 2016. The principal lecturers were Jacek Dobaczewski, Andrea Idini, Alessandro Pastore, and Nicolas Schunck. The written materials is freely available.

Survey Courses

The FRIB-TA Education Committee is coordinating efforts to produce a survey class exclusively on contemporary research in nuclear physics, targeted at upper-level undergraduates (although also suitable for beginning graduate students). Full-semester survey courses of this type that will serve as pilot versions have been developed recently at Michigan State University (MSU) and Ohio State University (OSU), both using as textbooks the NRC report Nuclear Physics: Exploring the Heart of Matter and the 2015 NSAC Long Range Plan Reaching for the Horizon (with supplementary resources on the basics of nuclear physics).

The MSU course uses a lecture format that is well suited for remote participation, with assessment based on answers to assigned problems and a final presentation or essay. The OSU course is studio based, with in-class activity sheets and assessment based on the in-class work and participation in an online question-and-answer forum, including devising explanations of several self-selected slides from LRP presentations. The development of materials for both courses is on-going. Current versions can be found at these websites: