This meeting, hosted by the ICCUB for the first time, has brought together more than 200 world experts in the fields of nuclear physics and hadronic physics to discuss the latest advances in theory, experimentation and technology and to address the scientific challenges of the 21st century regarding the nature and phenomena related to the essential components of matter in the universe.
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More than two hundred international experts will take part in the 10th International Conference on Quarks and Nuclear Physics (QNP2024), a scientific summit organized by the UB Institute of Cosmos Sciences (ICCUB), which will be held in the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Biology at the University of Barcelona from 8 to 12 July. This meeting, hosted by the UB for the first time, will bring together world experts in the fields of nuclear physics and hadronic physics to discuss the latest advances in theory, experimentation and technology and to address the scientific challenges of the 21st century regarding the nature and phenomena related to the essential components of matter in the universe.

In previous editions, this date with the world of nuclear physics was held in the cities of Adelaide (Australia), Jülich (Germany), Bloomington (United States), Madrid (Spain), Beijing (China), Palaiseau (France), Valparaíso (Chile), Tsukuba (Japan) and Tallahassee (United States).

The meeting will be inaugurated by the rector, Joan Guàrdia, on Monday, 8 July, in an event in which will participate the professors Xavier Luri and Àngels Ramos, from the Faculty of Physics and the ICC, and M. José García Borge, from the Institute of the Structure of Matter (IEM, CSIC). This will be followed by lectures by Juan M. Nieves, from the University of Valencia, entitled “Charge-conjugation asymmetry and molecular content: the Tcc(3875) and Ds(2317) in nuclear matter”, and Takashi Nakatsukasa, from the University of Tsukuba (Japan), with the paper “Energy density functional approaches to inhomogeneous superfluid neutron-star matter”.

Discovering yet unknown phenomena in nuclear physics

One of the most shocking discoveries in the world of physics was the Higgs boson, announced in July 2012 and postulated theoretically in 1964 by the scientist Peter Higgs to explain the essential building blocks of matter. The discovery is a major milestone at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva (Switzerland), one of the main scientific infrastructures that are shedding new light on the world of particle physics to understand its nature and the interaction mechanisms that are still unknown to the research community.

“Nuclear and hadronic physics in the 21st century present a number of fascinating scientific challenges, such as the fundamental understanding of strong interactions, the study of new exotic hadrons, the development of more precise nuclear models and the exploration of new states of matter”, says Xavier Luri, professor at the Department of Quantum Physics and Astrophysics and director of the ICCUB.
“It is worth noting that advances in nuclear and hadronic physics have a major impact on other areas of knowledge. In the field of astrophysics, for example, research to create new elements will help to understand the phenomenon of nucleosynthesis in the universe, and studies to characterize the behaviour of nuclear matter under extreme conditions will help to understand the properties and internal composition of neutron stars. In the field of particle physics, experiments on the double beta decay of nuclei, which seek to elucidate the nature of neutrons, will explore the limits of the standard model, while very precise measurements of nuclear and hadronic processes could lead to the detection of dark matter”, adds Luri.

Beyond the standard model of particle physics

The new edition of the international conference will address the limits of knowledge beyond the standard model that describes the most fundamental forces and particles in the universe. Theorists and experimentalists will discuss the progress of recent advances in hadronic and nuclear physics, and share the most revealing results on the structure of quarks and gluons in hadrons, decays and interactions between different particles, cold dark matter and large scientific-technical equipment, among others.

“Very precise measurements of the properties of nuclei and hadronic interactions are needed to discover ‘new physics’ phenomena, i.e. those that cannot be explained by the standard model of particle physics. Sophisticated theoretical studies of certain hadronic processes now show that the degree of precision needed to detect possible candidates for the elusive dark matter (which makes up 85% of the mass of our universe!) is beginning to be achievable in large experimental facilities, such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN”, says Professor Àngels Ramos, head of the UB’s Theoretical Nuclear Physics and Many Interacting Particles Group and coordinator of the conference.

“Another possible manifestation of ‘new physics’ could come from underground laboratories, such as the Canfranc laboratory (LSC), where the so-called double beta decay of nuclei without neutrino emission is being searched for, which will help to elucidate the nature of neutrinos and their mass hierarchy”, says Ramos.

To discuss new research horizons, the conference will feature internationally renowned experts such as Tomohiro Uesaka, head of the Nuclear Dynamics Research Group at the RIKEN centre in Japan, author of significant experimental contributions to the properties of exotic nuclei — rich in neutrons — that test modern theories of nuclear structure; Laura Fabbietti, from the Technical University of Munich (Germany) and the LHC ALICE collaboration, who has led the use of femtoscopy to characterize interactions between unstable hadrons; Yvonne Leifels, head of the Research Division of the Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research (GSI), who will present the scientific prospects of FAIR (Germany), the ion collider that will allow us to understand how elements are synthesized in the universe or the composition of matter under extreme conditions of density and temperature, and Eulogio Oset, theoretical physicist at the University of Valencia, internationally recognized for his outstanding contributions in the fields of hadronic physics and nuclear physics, and distinguished with the medal of the Royal Spanish Physics Society 2023.

Within the framework of the conference, and in collaboration with the Fundaciño Catalunya La Pedrera, Professor Freya Blekman, from the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY, University of Hamburg), will give the talk “Understanding the Large Hadron Collider: What, why and how?”, on Wednesday 10 July, at 6.30 p.m., in the auditorium of the Casa Milà (La Pedrera). The talk, open to the public, will focus on the research activity at the LHC in Geneva — the Swiss Army Knife of experiments, which investigates everything from new particles and forces to the birth of the universe — without neglecting the more fun and social aspects of this exceptional scientific facility.

The 10th International Conference on Quarks and Nuclear Physics is supported by the Barcelona City Council, the Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) and the European Committee for Nuclear Physics Collaboration (NuPECC), which is one of the expert committees of the European Science Foundation (ISF).