Physics and Astronomy

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Lew Riley

Dr. Riley is a Professor of Physics at Ursinus. He received his B.S. in physics from Guilford College and his M.S. and Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Florida State University. He has involved undergraduates in research in experimental nuclear structure and detector simulation since 1998. His research program has been continuously supported by grants from the National Science Foundation since 2000. He joined the Ursinus faculty in fall of 2002.

Title

Professor of Physics
Department Chair
Pre-engineering Program Coordinator

Department

Physics and Astronomy

Degrees

  • B.S., Guilford College
  • M.S., Ph.D., Florida State University

Teaching

PHYS121Q: Spacetime and Quantum Physics
PHYS201: Intermediate Mechanics
PHYS304: Thermal Physics
PHYS401: Applications of Quantum Mechanics
PHYS410: Classical Mechanics
PHYS450W: Senior Seminar
PHYS111/112: General Physics I & II
CIE100: Common Intellectual Experience I

Research Interests

Dr. Riley studies experimental nuclear structure. Specifically, his measurements probe the interplay between collective nuclear behavior, such as vibrations and rotations, and the behavior of the individual protons and neutrons.

In addition to direct experimental work, Dr. Riley’s research group develops and maintains the computer code UCGretina, a detailed simulation of the GRETINA array of gamma-ray tracking detectors used in nuclear physics experiments at the NSCL, Argonne National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Recent Work

In October 2016, Ben Klybor (UC 2019), Lisa Skiles (UC 2019), Ethan Haldeman (UC 2018), and Sean Gregory (UC 2018) traveled to the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University (NSCL) to carry out an inverse-kinematics proton scattering measurement using the Ursinus College/NSCL liquid hydrogen target and the GRETINA gamma-ray tracking array. Data analysis will begin in summer of 2017.

Ben Klybor (UC ’19) and Sean Gregory (UC ’17) with the Ursinus College/NSCL Liquid Hydrogen target and the GRETINA gamma-ray tracking array at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory in October 2016. Lisa Skiles (UC 2019) and Ethan Haldeman (UC 2018) with the Ursinus College/NSCL Liquid Hydrogen Target and the GRETINA gamma-ray tracking array at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory in October 2016

 

Leah Jarvis (UC 2018) and Chase Stine (UC 2018) spent the summer of 2016 refining our simulations of the GRETINA gamma-ray tracking array by comparing simulations with scanning-table data collected in September 2015 at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). They spent a week at the NSCL visiting GRETINA where it is currently housed and working with collaborators there.

Chase Stine and L. Jarvis with the GRETINA gamma-ray tracking array at the National Superconducting Ccyclotron Laboratory in June 2016

 

In the summer of 2015, Sean Gregory (UC 2017) and Ethan Haldeman (UC 2018) joined the group and collaborated on the analysis of inverse kinematics proton scattering from 49K and 51Ca and implementing a GEANT4 simulation of the GRETINA scanning table at LBNL. Their work on the simulation code was central in helping researchers at LBNL better understand the apparatus they use to characterize GRETINA detectors before they are used in measurements.

Sean Gregory, Ethan Haldeman, and Lew Riley at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in summer of 2015.Sean Gregory, Ethan Haldeman, and Lew Riley at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in summer of 2015.

 

In the summer of 2014, Rose Blanchard (UC 2016) and Jonathan Kustina (UC 2016) joined the group. Rose completed a preliminary analysis of inverse kinematics proton scattering measurements of 54Ti and 56Ti. Jonathan used our simulations codes to compare the capabilities of the current 28-detector GRETINA gamma-ray tracking array presently in use at the NSCL with the planned 120-detector GRETA array at the new Facilty for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) currently under construction at Michigan State University. Rose and Jon presented their work in October of 2014 at the 4th Joint Meeting of the APS Division of Nuclear Physics and the Physical Society of Japan on the “big island” of Hawaii. 

In May 2013, Dr. Riley, Michael Agiorgousis (UC 2013), Bryan Sadler (UC 2014), Frank DeVone (UC 2015), and Matt Glowacki (UC 2015) performed a week-long experiment at the NSCL. The experiment involved measuring gamma rays emitted by exotic nuclei after collisions with protons in the liquid hydrogen target. Frank and Matt spent the remainder of the summer analyzing the data. Frank, Matt, and Dr. Riley presented preliminary results at the 2013 Fall Meeting of the APS Division of Nuclear Physics in Newport News, Virginia. An article on this work was published in Physical Review C in August of 2014.

In the summer of 2010, Jessical Palardy (UC 2012) and Nick Ferrante (UC 2012) assembled and tested the Ursinus College Liquid Hydrogen target at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University (NSCL). They presented their work at the 2010 Fall Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Nuclear Physics in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This target has become a central component of our experimental program.

Jessica Palardy and Nick Ferrante with the Ursinus College/NSCL Liquid Hydrogen Target at the National Superconducting Cyclotron LaboratoryJessica Palardy and Nick Ferrante with the Ursinus College/NSCL Liquid Hydrogen Target at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory