Labs / Centers

The Center for Nuclear Studies (CNS)

The Center for Nuclear Studies (CNS) is a university-sponsored Center of Excellence. The CNS provides the organizational umbrella for all research efforts in nuclear physics in the Department of Physics at The George Washington University. The basic objective of these efforts is to contribute to the world's understanding of the dynamics and structure of nuclear matter, whether at the level of the atomic nucleus itself, at the subnuclear level of nucleons and mesons within the atomic nucleus, or even at the sub-subnuclear level where one deals with elementary constituents of nucleons and mesons. This objective is pursued both experimentally and theoretically, with an equal balance between experiment and theory. On the experimental side, it requires devising experiments where one bombards nuclei with various probes – for example, electromagnetic radiation, electrons, mesons, protons, or other nuclei – and measures the resulting final fragments to gain information about the forces acting both between the constituents of the targets and between projectiles and targets. On the theoretical side, this interpretation of experimental findings requires the guidance of dynamical theories that provide models for the reactions under scrutiny, making predictions as to their possible outcome. It is the iterative process of theoretical predictions and subsequent experimental findings, leading in turn to more refined theoretical descriptions and hence better predictions, which drives the quest for knowledge in physics.