Physics Colloquium with Or Hen on Neutron Star Droplets and the Quarks Within
Since the discovery of quarks nuclear physicists have been trying to understand the relation between the lower-resolution description of nuclei using protons and neutrons and their underlying higher-resolution description in terms of quarks and gluons.
At the intersection of these two paradigms are Short-Range Correlations (SRC): pairs of strongly interacting nucleons whose distance is comparable to their radii. Due to their overlapping quark distributions and strong interaction SRC pairs reach local densities comparable to those existing in the outer core of neutron stars and serve as a bridge between low-energy nuclear structure high-density nuclear matter and high-energy quark distributions.
In this talk I will present results from high-energy electron scattering experiments that probe the structure and properties of SRCs across scales: from their effect on the behavior of protons in neutron-rich nuclear systems through their role in our understanding of strong interactions at short distances and the impact of nuclear interactions on internal quark-gluon sub-structure of nuclei. Looking to the future I will also discuss next generation studies at the forthcoming Electron-Ion Collider under construction at Brookhaven National Lab.