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Nuclear shapes : from earliest ideas to multiple shape coexisting structures

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The concept of the atomic nucleus being characterized by an intrinsic property such as shape came as a result of high precision hyperfine studies in the field of atomic physics, which indicated a non-spherical nuclear charge distribution. Herein, we describe the various steps taken through ingenious experimentation and bold theoretical suggestions that mapped the way for later work in the early 50s by Aage Bohr, Ben Mottelson and James Rainwater. We lay out a long and winding road that marked, in the period of 50s to 70s, the way shell-model and collective-model concepts were reconciled. A rapid increase in both accelerator and detection methods (70s towards the early 2000s) opened new vistas into nuclear shapes, and their coexistence, in various regions of the nuclear mass table. Next, we outline a possible unified view of nuclear shapes: emphasizing decisive steps taken as well as questions remaining, next to the theoretical efforts that could result in an emerging understanding of nuclear shapes, building on the nucleus considered as a strongly interacting system of nucleons as the microscopic starting point.
Journal: Physica Scripta
ISSN: 0031-8949
Issue: 8
Volume: 91
Number of pages: 1
Publication year:2016