Five ERC Consolidator Grants for KU Leuven researchers

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded its Consolidator Grants. Five KU Leuven researchers are among this year’s recipients: Thomas Elias Cocolios, Liesbet Geris, Kris Myny, Bram Van de Poel, and Marian Verhelst.

ERC Consolidator Grants provide funding for excellent researchers with 7 to 12 years of post-PhD experience. The grants are awarded for a five-year period and may be worth up to € 2 million.

Thomas Elias Cocolios: challenging our understanding of the nucleus

Associate professor Faculty of Science, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Institute for Nuclear and Radiation Physics

How does the interaction within atomic nuclei create the complex structure of atoms?

Are there limits to the number of protons or neutrons in an atomic nucleus? How and where in the universe are the chemical elements produced?

© Filip Van Loock

Professor Thomas Elias Cocolios’s NSHAPE project will attempt to answer these key questions by testing the most advanced nuclear models with highly sensitive, high-resolution and hyper-accurate measurements of the shape of atomic nuclei. The result will be a better understanding of the strong forces at play in the nucleus.

In particular, NSHAPE will investigate octupole-deformed nuclei (which are pear-shaped, with more matter on one side than the other) and proton-unbound systems (the nuclear force cannot hold the last proton any longer).

NSHAPE will use techniques from atomic, nuclear and particle physics and set up experiments at CERN (Geneva, Switzerland), GANIL (Caen, France) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI, Villigen, Switzerland).

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