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March 31, 2015

NSF continues funding for MSU-led physics institute

An institute based at Michigan State University that studies, among other things, how the elements found throughout the universe first came to be, has been renewed for funding by the National Science Foundation.

The NSF announced that the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics – Center for the Evolution of Elements will continue to be designated as a Physics Frontiers Center.

The MSU-led institute explores two closely related topics: The origin of the elements beyond those created during the Big Bang and the nature of dense nuclear matter that make up the cores of neutron stars and their remnants.

“The center allows us to obtain and then combine data from accelerator experiments, astronomical observatories, computer simulation, and theoretical calculations to understand how the elements that make up our world have been created in stars and stellar explosions,” said Hendrik Schatz, JINA-CEE director and a professor in MSU’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.

The institute brings together nuclear experimentalists and theorists, astronomers, theoretical astrophysicists and computational physicists from around the world.

It also fosters interdisciplinary collaborations, workshops, research programs, educational initiatives, and public outreach at its participating institutions, as well as within the field of nuclear astrophysics at large.

Other partners in the JINA-CEE project include Arizona State University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Washington and 18 other institutions from six countries.

The Physics Frontiers Centers program supports university-based centers and institutes where the collective efforts of a larger group of individuals can result in advances in areas of physics such as astrophysical, elementary particle, atomic, molecular and others.

The centers include creative activities aimed at enhancing education, broadening participation of traditionally underrepresented groups and conducting outreach to the scientific community and general public.

For more information on JINA-CEE, please visit


By: Tom Oswald

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