Nuclear Science is the study of the structure, properties, and interactions of atomic nuclei, which are the hearts of atoms. The nucleus is the place where almost all of the mass of ordinary matter resides. Understanding the behavior of nuclear matter under both normal conditions and conditions very far from normal is a major challenge. Extreme conditions existed in the early universe, exist now in the cores of stars, and can be created in the laboratory during collisions between nuclei.
Nuclear scientists investigate by measuring the properties, shapes, and decays of nuclei at rest and in collisions. They ask questions such as: Why do the nucleons stay in the nucleus? What combinations of protons and neutrons are possible? What happens when nuclei are squeezed? What is the origin of the nuclei found on Earth? Nuclear scientists carry out both theoretical and experimental investigations using high-energy accelerators, innovative detectors, and forefront computing facilities.