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Visualizing the Atomic Nucleus
September/October 1999 (vol. 19 no. 5)
pp. 54-60
Perhaps unique among the natural sciences, nuclear physics has had no means for visualizing the topic under study, the atomic nucleus. Although the theoretical models in current use succeed in making a wide variety of quantitative predictions concerning nuclear phenomena, each was developed independently based on assumptions not necessarily compatible with assumptions made in the other models. This diversity of perspectives has made self-consistent visualization of the nucleus impossible. Still, the

multiple models of nuclear structure theory have been considered an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of the scale and complexity of nuclear phenomena.

Known nuclear systems range from extremely small nuclei containing 1-3 nucleons, where precise calculations are possible, to extremely complex many-body systems (A~300) that are yet too small to justify the statistical assumptions of "infinite" nuclear matter. In-between the realm of precise few-body calculations and the realm of precise stochastic calculations lie most of the problems of the nuclear realm, where only imperfect models with a variety of adjustable parameters allow for quantitative work. Recent developments in both computer science and nuclear theory, however, have made it possible to visualize the nucleus in a manner consistent among the diverse models of nuclear structure. In this article, we discuss the need for visualization at the nuclear level and describe a computer graphics implementation that we call "Nuclear Visualization Software" (NVS).

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Norman D. Cook, Takefumi Hayashi, Nobuaki Yoshida, "Visualizing the Atomic Nucleus," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 19, no. 5, pp. 54-60, Sept.-Oct. 1999, doi:10.1109/38.788800
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