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Dr. Cornelius Beausang
Professor of Physics, Robert E. and Lena F. Loving Chair
Profile

The University of Richmond community mourns the passing of physics professor and former department chair Con Beausang (1959-2017).  Dr. Beausang was a dedicated teacher and served as a mentor to many students. During his career at UR, he was awarded over one million dollars in grants from the Department of Energy to pursue his research in nuclear and stewardship science. Professor Beausang was also a prolific scholar, publishing over 200 letters and articles in peer-reviewed journals, many of which he authored with Richmond colleagues and students.

The atomic nucleus lies at the heart of matter and at the core of stars. Making up 99.9% of the known mass of the universe the nucleus is a unique strongly-interacting quantum-mechanical mesoscopic system. Consisting of between a few and a few hundred strongly-interacting fermions (the protons and neutrons) the atomic nucleus exhibits a wealth of excited states. Some of these are based on collective excitations, involving the coherent motion of many / all of the constituent particles. Rotations and vibrations are good examples of these types of excitations. Other excitations involve the promotion of one or a few nucleons to higher lying states. These single-particle excitations are analogous to the promotion of electrons to higher lying atomic states. One of the goals of my research is to strive to understand the interplay between these two related but different type of phenomena. Experiments are carried out at national and international user facilities such as the Cyclotron Laboratory at Texas A&M University, the ATLAS accelerator at Argonne National Laboratory, and the 88-Inch accelerator at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Undergraduate students are invited and welcome to participate in these experiments and in the subsequent data analysis.

In addition to off-site experiments I have recently opened a new environmental radiation laboratory at the University of Richmond. Here using two sensitive germanium detectors very low levels of naturally (or otherwise) occurring radioactive materials can be detected in a variety of samples. Recent projects involved measuring background activity levels in car air filters (as part of a national project funded by the Department of Homeland Security), in various soil or rock samples and monitoring airborne activity from the recent disaster in Fukushima, Japan.

Recent Student Research Projects (Summer 2012):

Erin Good, Class of 2013: Investigation of the level scheme of 88Y

Tom Tarlow, Class of 2014: Analysis of the energy resolution of detectors in the new GRETINA array.

Kristen Gell, Class of 2015: Population of states in Gd nuclei following (p,d) and (p,t) reactions.

All three of these students will attend and present their results at the Fall 2012 DNP meeting of the American Physical Society in Newport Beach CA in October.

Grants and Fellowships
U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, $513,000 over three years for “Stewardship Science at Richmond”. (2012-2015)
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, $140,000 over three years for “Nuclear Structure Physics at Richmond”. (2011-2014)
U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, $510,000 over three years for “Stewardship Science at Richmond”. (2009-2012)
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, $130,000 over three years for “Nuclear Structure Physics at Richmond”. (2008-2011)
U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, $510,000 over three years for “Stewardship Science at Richmond”. (2006-2009)
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, $120,000 over three years for “Nuclear Structure Physics at Richmond”. (2005-2008)
Awards

Dylan-Hixon Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Natural Sciences, Yale University (2003)

Seaton Elm-Ivy Award, Yale University (2003)
Selected Publications
Articles

I have published over two hundred letters and articles in high-quality peer reviewed journals, many involving undergraduate students. Below is a list of publications since 2009 (Richmond co-authors are italicized)

N.D. Scielzo, J.E. Escher, J.M. Allmond, M.S. Basunia, C.W. Beausang, L.A. Bernstein, D.L. Bleuel, J.T. Burke, R.M. Clark, F.S. Dietrich, P. Fallon, J. Gibelin, B.L. Goldblum, S.R. Lesher, M.A. McMahon, E.B. Norman, L. Phair, E. Rodriguez-Vietez, S.A. Sheets, I.J. Thompson, and M. Wiedeking. Statistical gamma-rays in surrogate nuclear reactions analysis. Phys. Rev. C85, 054619, (2012).

T.J. Ross, C.W. Beausang, R.O. Hughes, J.M. Allmond, C.T. Angell, M.S. Basunia, D.L. Bleuel, J.T. Burke, R.J. Casperson, J.E. Escher, P. Fallon, R. Hatarik, J. Munson, S. Paschalis, M. Petri, L. Phair, J.J. Ressler, N.D. Scielzo, and I.J. Thompson. Measurement of the entry spin distribution imparted to the high excitation continuum region of gadolinium nuclei via (p, d) and (p, t) reactions. Physical Review C 85, no. 5 (May 24, 2012): 051304: 1-51304: 5. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.85.051304.

R.O. Hughes, C.W. Beausang, T.J. Ross, J.T. Burke, N.D. Scielzo, M.S. Basunia, C.M. Campbell, R.J. Casperson, H.L. Crawford, J.E. Escher, J. Munson, L.W. Phair, and J.J. Ressler. Utilizing (p, d) and (p, t) reactions to obtain (n, f) cross sections in uranium nuclei via the surrogate ratio method. Phys. Rev. C85 024613 (2012).

J.J. Ressler, J.T. Burke, J.E. Escher, C.T. Angell, M.S. Basunia, C.W. Beausang, L.A. Bernstein, D.L. Bleuel, R.J. Casperson, B.L. Goldblum, J. Gostic, R. Hatarik, R. Henderson, R.O. Hughes, J. Munson, L.W. Phair, T.J. Ross, N.D. Scielzo, E. Swanberg, I.J. Thompson, and M. Wiedeking. Surrogate measurement of the 239Pu(n, f) cross section. Phys. Rev. C83 054610 (2011).

J.M. Allmond, C.W. Beausang, J.O. Rasmussen, T.J. Ross, M.S. Basunia, L.A. Bernstein, D.L. Bleuel, W. Brooks, N. Brown, J.T. Burke, B.K. Darakchieva, K.R. Dudziak, K.E. Evans, P. Fallon, H.B. Jeppesen, J.D. LeBlanc, S.R. Lesher, M.A. McMahan, D.A. Meyer, L. Phair, N.D. Scielzo, S.R. Stroberg, and M. Wiedeking. Particle-γ spectroscopy of (p, d-γ)155Gd: Neutron single-quasiparticle states at N = 91. Phys. Rev. C81 064316 (2010)

R.M. Clark, K.E. Gregorich, J.S. Berryman, M.N. Ali, J.M. Allmond, C.W. Beausang, M. Cromaz, M.A. Deleplanque, I. Dragojevic, J. Dvorak, P.A. Ellison, P. Fallon, M.A. Garcia, J.M. Gates, S. Gros, H.B. Jeppesen, D. Kaji, I.Y. Lee, A.O. Macchiavelli, K. Morimoto, H. Nitsche, S. Paschalis, M. Petri, L. Stavsetra, F.S. Stephens, H. Watanabe, and M. Wiedeking. High-K multi-quasiparticle states in 254No. Phys. Lett. B690 7 (2010)

N. D. Scielzo, J. E. Escher, J. M. Allmond, M. S. Basunia, C. W. Beausang, L. A. Bernstein, D. L. Bleuel, J. T. Burke, R. M. Clark, F. S. Dietrich, P. Fallon, J. Gibelin, B. L. Goldblum, S. R. Lesher, M. A. McMahan, E. B. Norman, L. Phair, E. Rodriquez-Vieitez, S. A. Sheets, I. J. Thompson, and M. Wiedeking. Measurement of γ-emission branching ratios for 154,156,158Gd compound nuclei: tests of surrogate nuclear reaction approximations for (n;γ) cross sections. Phys. Rev. C81 034608 (2010).

J. J. Ressler, J. A. Caggiano, C. J. Francy, P. N. Peplowski, J. M. Allmond, C. W. Beausang, L. A. Bernstein, D. L. Bleuel, J. T. Burke, P. Fallon, A. A. Hecht, D. V. Jordan, S. R. Lesher, M. A. McMahan, T. S. Palmer, L. Phair, N. D. Scielzo, P. G. Swearingen, G. A. Warren, and M. Wiedeking. Fission fragment isomers populated via 6Li+232Th.  Phys. Rev. C81, 014301 (2010).

Z. Berant, E. Oster, R. J. Casperson, A. Wolf, V. Werner, A. Heinz, R. F. Casten, G. Gurdal, E. A. McCutchan, D. S. Brenner, J. R. Terry, R. Winkler, E. Williams, J. Qian, A. Schmidt, M. K. Smith, T. Ahn, C. W. Beausang, P. H. Regan, T.J. Ross, M. Bunce, B. Darakchieva, D. A. Meyer, J. LeBlanc, K. Dudziak, C. Bauer, and G. Henning. g factor of the 2+1 state of 172Hf. Phys. Rev. C80 057303 (2009).

H.B. Jeppesen, R.M. Clark, K.E. Gregorich, A.V. Afanasjev, M.N. Ali, J.M. Allmond, C.W. Beausang, M. Cromaz, M.A. Deleplanque, I. Dragojevic, J. Dvorak, P.A. Ellison, P. Fallon, M.A. Garcia, J.M. Gates, S. Gros, I.Y. Lee, A.O. Macchiavelli, S.L. Nelson, H. Nitsche, L. Stavsetra, F.S. Stephens, and M. Wiedeking. High-K Multi-Quasiparticle States and Rotational Bands in 255103Lr. Phys. Rev. C80 034324 (2009).

T.J. Ross, C.W. Beausang, I-Y. Lee, A.O. Macchiavelli, S. Gros, M. Cromaz, R.M. Clark, P. Fallon, H. Jeppesen and J.M. Allmond. Neutron Damage Tests of a Highly Segmented Germanium crystal. Nucl. Instrum. and Meth A606, 533 (2009).

J.M. Allmond, L.A. Bernstein, C.W. Beausang, L.  Phair, D.L. Bleuel, J.T. Burke, J.E. Escher, K.E. Evans, B.L. Goldblum, R. Hatarik, H.B. Jeppesen, S.R. Lesher, M.A. McMahon, J.O. Rasmussen, N.D. Scielzo, and M. Wiedeking. Relative 235U(n, γ) and (n, f) cross sections from 235U(d, pγ) and (d, pf). Phys. Rev. C79 054610 (2009).

S.R. Lesher, L.A. Bernstein, J.T. Burke, H. Ai, C.W. Beausang, D.L. Bleuel, R.M. Clark, J.E. Escher, P. Fallon, J. Gibelin, I.Y. Lee, B.F. Lyles, A.O. Macchiavelli, M.A. McMahan, K.J. Moody, E.B. Norman, L. Phair, E. Rodriguez-Vietez, N.D. Scielzo, and M. Wiedeking. The Surrogate Ratio Method in the Actinide Region Using the (α, α’f) Reaction. Phys. Rev. C79, 044609 (2009).

Education
Ph.D., SUNY Stony Brook
M.A., SUNY Stony Brook
B.Sc., University College Cork, Ireland
Contact Information
D-111 Gottwald Science Center
(804) 289-8783
(804) 484-1542 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Low-energy nuclear structure physics
Gamma-ray spectroscopy
Stockpile Stewardship
Environmental Radiation