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Argonne scientists win prize for theoretical physics work on supercomputers

Argonne announced late last week that two of their scientists have won the Bonner Prize in nuclear physics.

ANL logoSteven Pieper and Robert Wiringa, senior scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, have won the 2010 Tom W. Bonner Prize in nuclear physics. The award will be presented by the American Physical Society in Washington, D.C., in February 2010.

The Prize is typically awarded for experimental work, but according to ANL it can go to experimental work in “special circumstances.”

Pieper and Wiringa have been pioneers in developing models of these forces. Wiringa and his collaborators at Jefferson Lab and elsewhere developed the Argonne v18 potential, a model of nucleon-nucleon interactions that has become a de facto standard in the nuclear structure community. The ability to conduct computations of ever larger nuclei required advances in computers and the algorithms used—issues that Pieper has been addressing over the past dozen years with a state-of-the-art quantum Monte Carlo program. This program enabled Pieper and Wiringa, together with collaborators from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Los Alamos National Laboratory, to develop several models of three-nucleon forces.

…Recently, in collaboration with researchers in Argonne’s Mathematics and Computer Science Division, Pieper has enhanced the quantum Monte Carlo program to model nuclear states up to carbon-12.  This work, funded by a DOE Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) grant, resulted in a novel subroutine library for using massive parallel computers. Key to this effort has been access to the IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer in the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.

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