Richard J. Furnstahl
The Ohio State University

Hans-Werner Hammer
TU Darmstadt

Achim Schwenk
TU Darmstadt

Diversity Coordinator:

Achim Schwenk
TU Darmstadt

Program Coordinator:

For questions about program coordination, please contact:
(206) 685-3360

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INT Program INT-19-2a

Nuclear Structure at the Crossroads

July 1 - August 2, 2019


Effective Field Theories (EFTs) applied to nuclei and nuclear matter have had many phenomenological successes. In particular, nuclear interactions derived from chiral EFT and advances in nuclear many-body techniques have enabled rapid progress in ab initio nuclear structure calculations up to mass numbers A~100. However, the limits in mass and density of this approach are currently not known and there are open issues regarding the convergence and power counting of chiral EFT. Alternative lower-resolution EFTs have shown advantages for particular aspects of nuclear structure and reactions while EFT for energy-density functionals has many open questions. In the meantime, quantitative matching of QCD to nuclear EFT is becoming increasingly feasible. The goal of this program is to review recent progress in nuclear structure research using EFTs and to set future priorities in the light of upcoming experiments.

Background on recent developments

  • The combination of chiral EFT using Weinberg power counting with powerful many-body methods has dramatically extended ab initio calculations to medium-heavy nuclei. This has led to major successes in nuclear structure theory, but also highlights open problems in the present status of nuclear forces and currents.

  • The Weinberg approach has been criticized for the small range of cutoff variations possible, and some quantities are sensitive to the regulators used. Whether this is still a problem at high enough orders or a fundamental consequence of non-perturbative renormalization and the small separation of scales in nuclei is a matter of current debate. There are alternative approaches where the cutoff can be varied over a larger range, but their implementation in many-body methods needs to be explored.

  • Statistical methods for robust uncertainty quantification of nuclear EFTs has become an active area of research. These can also be used to assess alternative power counting schemes and to provide model selection and validation.

  • EFTs with a lower resolution scale make emergent degrees of freedom and universal relations between observables more transparent and can simplify certain calculations. Such EFTs include pionless EFT for few-nucleon systems and halo EFT for halo and cluster nuclei. More recently, an EFT for collective degrees of freedom has also been constructed, with very encouraging results.

  • The access to the heaviest nuclei and to global predictions of the nuclear chart is facilitated by energy-density functionals. Thus they provide a key piece towards the goal of describing the whole nuclear chart from first principles. While progress has been made in deriving energy-density functionals from EFT, phenomenological energy functionals are still more accurate to date.

  • Lattice QCD calculations of few-nucleon observables have become available in the last ten years and are now approaching pion masses close to the physical value. This makes matching to the fundamental theory of QCD at physical pion masses possible by the time of the program and will provide an anchor point for an EFT-based description of the nuclear chart firmly rooted in QCD.

Program format

The program will focus on key questions addressing open issues and priorities for future research on EFTs for low-energy nuclear physics. We have divided the program into two overlapping topical blocks:

Weeks 1-3: Foundations, advances and limits of EFTs for nuclei and nuclear matter

Are the small cutoff variations in chiral EFT a real deficit or a fundamental consequence of non-perturbative renormalization and/or the small separation of scales in nuclei? What are viable alternative schemes and what are the key observables to test them? What are the limits of chiral EFT in heavy nuclei? Does the Fermi momentum emerge naturally in chiral EFT or should it be included explicitly as an additional scale? How can one quantify the limits in mass and density? How do Bayesian statistical methods help in addressing these questions?

Weeks 3-5: More effective EFTs, energy-density functionals, and lattice QCD

How do new degrees of freedom emerge from ab initio calculations? What are viable strategies for the development of more effective EFTs and their matching to ab initio calculations as well as experimental data? How can this program help ongoing efforts to integrate structure and reaction calculations? What strategies should be pursued for developing new expansions for energy-density functionals as well as improving the accuracy of EFT-based energy functionals? What are the key observables and strategies for matching EFTs of nuclei to lattice QCD?

We encourage all scientists interested in these questions to apply, using the link in the sidebar on the left of this page. The participation of early career researchers as well as underrepresented groups in the physics community are particularly encouraged.

Supported in part by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) - Projektnummer 279384907 - SFB 1245.