$\frac{E_{bind}}{c^2}=a_1A-a_2A^{2/3}-a_3\frac{Z(Z-1)}{A^{1/3}}-a_4\frac{(N-Z)^2}{A}+\epsilon a_5A^{-3/4}$

Matthew Mumpower

Staff Scientist @ Los Alamos National Lab

About Me

I'm a theoretical physicist working at Los Alamos National Lab. I received my PhD at North Carolina State University under the direction of Gail McLaughlin. At the University of Notre Dame I worked under the direction of Ani Aprahamian and Rebecca Surman. My research interests are in nuclear structure and reaction mechanisms. The study of these models has a wide range of applicability from nuclear medicine, to stockpile stewardship and even the cosmos.

At Los Alamos we seek to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence. This means we not only apply our models to the task at hand, but we seek to push them to the limits by probing the edges of our knowledge with basic science research. One way I contribute to basic science research at the lab is to study the applicability of LANL nuclear models to nucleosynthesis. Nucleosynthesis is the study of the processes by which chemical elements are synthesized in cosmic environments. In other words, this part of my research focuses on how the elements on the periodic table were created. This field is extremely challenging and also very rewarding with many real world applications. Check out the research section of this website for more information.

I firmly believe that practicing in scientific inquiry is both empowering and a necessary requirement for success in today's world. You can learn more about my teaching efforts in the teach section of this website.

Outside of Physics I enjoy keeping up with latest technology trends and coming up with unique solutions to challenging problems. For more about my entrepreneurial endeavours check out Solace Development Group. In my free time I try to stay in shape by playing racquetball. If you are interested in a game, shoot me an e-mail.

Latest Paper (October 17th 2017)

The Origin of r-Process Elements in the Milky Way

Some of the heavy elements, such as gold and europium (Eu), are almost exclusively formed by the rapid neutron capture process (r-process). However, it is still unclear which astrophysical site between core-collapse supernovae and neutron star - neutron star (NS-NS) mergers produced most of the r-process elements in the universe. Galactic chemical evolution (GCE) models can test...

Select Papers

Fission Barriers at the End of the Chart of Nuclides

P. Möller, A. J. Sierk, T. Ichikawa, A. Iwamoto, M. Mumpower
Phys. Rev C 91 024310 - Published February 12th 2015
We present calculated fission-barrier heights for 5239 nuclides, for all nuclei between the proton and neutron drip lines with $171 \le A \le 330$. The barriers are calculated in the macroscopic-microscopic finite-range liquid-drop model with a 2002 set of macroscopic-model parameters. The saddle-point energies are determined from potential-energy surfaces based on more than five million different shapes, defined by five deformation parameters in the three-quadratic-surface shape parameterization: elongation, neck diameter, left-fragment spheroidal deformation, right-fragment spheroidal deformation, and nascent-fragment mass asymmetry. The energy of the ground state is determined by calculating the lowest-energy configuration in both the Nilsson perturbed-spheroid ($\epsilon$) and in the spherical-harmonic ($\beta$) parameterizations. The lower of the two results (correcting for zero-point motion) is defined as the ground-state energy. The effect of axial asymmetry on the inner barrier peak is calculated in the $\epsilon-\gamma$ parameterization. We have earlier benchmarked our calculated barrier heights to experimentally extracted barrier parameters and found average agreement to about one MeV for known data across the nuclear chart. Here we do additional benchmarks and investigate the qualitative, and when possible, quantitative agreement and/or consistency...

Sensitivity studies for a weak $r$ process: neutron capture rates

R. Surman, M. Mumpower, R. Sinclair, K. Jones, W. Hix, G. C. McLaughlin
AIP Advances 4, 041008 - Published February 23rd 2014
Rapid neutron capture nucleosynthesis involves thousands of nuclear species far from stability, whose nuclear properties need to be understood in order to accurately predict nucleosynthetic outcomes. Recently sensitivity studies have provided a deeper understanding into how the $r$ process proceeds and have identified pieces of nuclear data of interest recommended for further experimental or theoretical study. A key result of these studies has been to point out the importance of individual neutron capture rates in setting the final $r$-process abundance pattern for a 'main' ($A\sim 130$ peak and above) $r$ process. Here we examine neutron capture in the context of a 'weak' $r$ process that forms primarily the $A\sim 80$ $r$-process abundance peak. We identify the astrophysical conditions required to produce this peak region through weak $r$-processing and point out the neutron capture rates that most strongly influence the final abundance...


In my free time I play competitive racquetball. I was one of the top ranked players of the North Carolina State University Racquetball Club from 2008 to 2012. I designed their website which you can find an image of right here.