Physics and Astronomy

  • Lew Riley

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 supported by grants from the National Science Foundation since 2000. He joined the Ursinus faculty in fall of 2002.

Department

Physics and Astronomy

Degrees

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

Teaching

PHYS121Q: Spacetime and Quantum Physics
PHYS122Q: Electromagnetism and Thermodynamics
PHYS201: Intermediate Mechanics
PHYS207W: Modern Physics
PHYS299: Mathematical Physics I
PHYS304: Thermal Physics
PHYS328W: Analog Electronics
PHYS401: Applications of Quantum Mechanics
PHYS410: Classical Mechanics
PHYS450W: Senior Seminar
PHYS111/112: General Physics I & II
CIE100: Common Intellectual Experience I

Research Interests

The Ursinus College Nuclear Structure Group collaborates with nuclear scientists on experiments at accelerator laboratories like FSU and FRIB. Our experimental work is focused on understanding the interplay between collective nuclear behavior, such as vibrations and rotations of the entire system, and the behavior of the individual protons and neutrons within it. We have done experimental work at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University (NSCL) and the John D. Fox Superconducting Linear Accelerator Laboratory at Florida State University (FSU). The NSCL is nearing the end of a major upgrade to its driver accelerator and transitioning to become the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). The FRIB project is on track for its planned commissioning in 2022, and we are currently working on proposals for experiments there.

In addition to direct experimental work, we develop and maintain the computer code UCGretina, a simulation of the Gamma Ray Energy Tracking Array (GRETA) – an array of gamma-ray tracking detectors used in nuclear physics experiments at FRIB – and UCNaI, a simulation of the sodium iodide (NaI) scintillator detectors we use in the Advanced Laboratory at Ursinus.

Summer 2021 Opportunities

Two projects are in the works!  (a) A combination of a new neutron-transfer experiment at FSU (contingent on the lifting COVID restrictions by July) and (b) a simulation project aimed at evaluating new GRETA detectors as they are delivered by the manufacturer for use at FRIB – part of an ongoing collaboration with the gamma-ray spectroscopy groups at FRIB and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. 

Interested sophomores and juniors: Let’s talk!

Recent Work

Ray Saunders (UC 2022) is currently working on detector simulations with the geant4 Simulation Toolkit developed and maintained at CERN

Visualization of the UCNaI geant4 simulation of a sodium iodide (NaI) scintillator detector in ou...Visualization of the UCNaI geant4 simulation of a sodium iodide (NaI) scintillator detector in our Advanced Laboratory. Visualization of the UCGretina geant4 simulation of the GRETINA Gamma-ray Tracking Array used by ...Visualization of the UCGretina geant4 simulation of the GRETINA Gamma-ray Tracking Array used by the nuclear science community at FRIB.

 

In Summer of 2019, Jess Nebel-Crosson (UC 2021) traveled to FSU to complete a neutron transfer measurement of 51Ti using the split-pole. In Summer of 2020, Jess worked on the analysis of the experiment, and is carrying the project forward as an Honors project in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Jessica Nebel-Crosson (UC ’21) and collaborators in front of the Super Enge split-pole spectrog...Jessica Nebel-Crosson (UC ’21) and collaborators in front of the Super Enge split-pole spectrograph (SPS) at FSU in summer of 2019.

In Summer of 2018, Lisa Skiles (UC 2019) and Max Liggett (UC 2021) traveled to the John D. Fox Superconducting Linear Accelerator Laboratory at Florida State University to participate in the commissioning of an Enge split-pole magnetic spectrograph recently relocated there from the Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory at Yale University.

Lisa Skiles and Max Liggett with the new magnetic spectrograph at Florida State University in Sum...Lisa Skiles and Max Liggett with the new magnetic spectrograph at Florida State University in Summer of 2018.

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 t...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 NSCL in October 2016. Lisa Skiles (UC 2019) and Ethan Haldeman (UC 2018) with the Ursinus College/NSCL Liquid Hydrogen ...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 NSCL 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 NSCL in June 2016Chase Stine and L. Jarvis with the GRETINA gamma-ray tracking array at the NSCL 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 the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (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...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 NSC...Jessica Palardy and Nick Ferrante with the Ursinus College/NSCL Liquid Hydrogen Target at the NSCL.

Recent Publications / Presentations with / by Students (student co-authors in boldface)

  • Inverse-kinematics proton scattering from 42,44S, 41,43P, and the collapse of the N=28 major shell closure, L. A. Riley, D. Bazin, J. Belarge, P. C. Bender, B. A. Brown, P. D. Cottle, B. Elman, A. Gade, S. D. Gregory, E. B. Haldeman, K. W. Kemper, B. R. Klybor, M. A. Liggett, S. Lipschutz, B. Longfellow, E. Lunderberg, T. Mijatovic, J. Pereira, L. M. Skiles, R. Titus, A. Volya, D. Weisshaar, J. C. Zamora, and R. G. T. Zegers, Phys. Rev. C 100, 044312 (2019).
  • Single-Neutron Transfer to 50Ti, J. M. Nebel-Crosson, L. Riley, L. T. Baby, P. Cottle, J. C. Esparza, K. Hanselman, K. Kemper, G. McCann, I. Wiedenhoever, A. Conley, S. Lesher, R. Traas, A. Kuchera, G. Selby, Bull. Amer. Phys. Soc. 64, No. 12, HA.00006 (2019).
  • Spectroscopy of 54Ti and the systematic behavior of low-energy octupole states in Ca and Ti isotopes, L. A. Riley, M. L. Agiorgousis, T. R. Baugher, D. Bazin, R. L. Blanchard, M. Bowry, P. D. Cottle, F. G. DeVone, A. Gade, M. T. Glowacki, K. W. Kemper, J. S. Kustina, E. Lunderberg, D. M. McPherson, S. Noji, J. Piekarewicz, F. Recchia, B. V. Sadler, M. Scott, D. Weisshaar, and R. G. T. Zegers, Phys. Rev. C 96, 064315 (2017).
  • Inverse-kinematics proton scattering from 41P, B.R. Klybor, S.D. Gregory, E.B. Haldeman, L.A. Riley, L.M. Skiles, P.D. Cottle, K.W. Kemper, D. Bazin, J. Belarge, P.C. Bender, B. Elman, A. Gade, S. Lipschutz, B. Longfellow, E. Lunderberg, T. Mijatovic, J. Pereira, R. Titus, D. Weisshaar, J.C. Zamora, and, R.G.T. Zegers, Bull. Amer. Phys. Soc. 62, No. 11 EA.00172 (2017).
  • Inverse-kinematics proton scattering from 43P, L.M. Skiles, S.D. Gregory, E.B. Haldeman, B.R. Klybor, L.A. Riley, P.D. Cottle, K.W. Kemper, D. Bazin, J. Belarge, P.C. Bender, B. Elman, A. Gade, S. Lipschutz, B. Longfellow, E. Lunderberg, T. Mijatovic, J. Pereira, R. Titus, D. Weisshaar, J.C. Zamora, and, R.G.T. Zegers, Bull. Amer. Phys. Soc. 62, No. 11 EA.00173 (2017).
  • Determination of the Thickness of the Back Dead-Layer of GRETINA Crystals via Comparisons of Measured Photopeak Efficiencies with GEANT4 Simulations, L. R. Jarvis, C. G. Stine, and L. A. Riley, Bull. Amer. Phys. Soc. 61, No. 13 EA.00112 (2016).
  • Octupole strength in the neutron-rich calcium isotopes, L. A. Riley, D. M. McPherson, M. L. Agiorgousis, T. R. Baugher, D. Bazin, M. Bowry, P. D. Cottle, F. G. DeVone, A. Gade, M. T. Glowacki, S. D. Gregory, E. B. Haldeman, K. W. Kemper, E. Lunderberg, S. Noji, F. Recchia, B. V. Sadler, M. Scott, D. Weisshaar, and R. G. T. Zegers, Phys. Rev. C 93, 044327 (2016).
  • Inverse-kinematics Proton Scattering from 51Ca, Sean Gregory, Bull. Amer. Phys. Soc. 60, No. 13, EA.00146 (2015).
  • Simulation of the GRETINA Scanning Table at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Ethan Haldeman, Bull. Amer. Phys. Soc. 60, No. 13, EA.00147 (2015).
  • Inverse-kinematics proton scattering and analysis of 54Ti and 56Ti, R.L. Blanchard, J.S. Kustina, L.A. Riley, M.L. Agiorgousis, T.R. Baugher, D. Bazin, M. Bowry, P.D. Cottle, F.G. DeVone, A. Gade, M.T. Glowacki, K.W. Kemper, E. Lunderberg, D.M. McPherson, S. Noji, F. Recchia, B.V. Sadler, M. Scott, D. Weisshaar, R.G.T. Zegers, Bull. Amer. Phys. Soc. 59, No. 10, GB.00046 (2014).
  • Inverse-kinematic proton scattering from 52Ca and Implications for the GRETA Array at FRIB, J.S. Kustina, R.L. Blanchard, L.A. Riley, M.L. Agiorgousis, T.R. Baugher, D. Bazin, M. Bowry, P.D. Cottle, F.G. DeVone, A. Gade, M.T. Glowacki, K.W. Kemper, E. Lunderberg, D.M. McPherson, S. Noji, F. Recchia, B.V. Sadler, M. Scott, D. Weisshaar, R.G.T. Zegers, Bull. Amer. Phys. Soc. 59, No. 10, GB.00048 (2014).
  • Inverse-kinematics proton scattering on 50Ca: Determining effective charges using complementary probes, L. A. Riley, M. L. Agiorgousis, T. R. Baugher, D. Bazin, M. Bowry, P. D. Cottle, F. G. DeVone, A. Gade, M. T. Glowacki, K. W. Kemper, E. Lunderberg, D. M. McPherson, S. Noji, F. Recchia, B. V. Sadler, M. Scott, D. Weisshaar, and R. G. T. Zegers, Phys. Rev. C 90, 011305(R) (2014).