A major goal of nuclear theory is to explain the wealth of data and peculiarities exhib- ited by nuclear systems in terms of effective many-body interactions amongst the nucleus constituents—the nucleons, i.e., protons and neutrons, which emerge as effective degrees of freedom, at sufficiently low energy. In such an approach, which we will refer to as the basic model of nuclear theory, the nucleons interact with each other via many-body (primarily, two- and three-body) effective interactions, and with external electroweak probes via effec- tive currents describing the coupling of these probes to individual nucleons and many-body clusters of them. Up to the mid-1990s, such basic model was based almost exclusively on meson-exchange and phenomenological approaches. A new phase in the evolution of the basic model, and renewed interest in its further development, have been spurred by the emergence in the early 1990s of chiral effective field theory (χEFT) which has now established itself as the most popular method of studying nuclear forces and low-energy nuclear dynamics. In this talk, I will give an overview of both phenomenological and χEFT approaches highlight- ing to what extent these two frameworks impact our knowledge of atomic nuclei and infinite nuclear matter.

Coffee: 3:30 pm, 245 Compton