John H. Kelley

Research Assistant Professor

North Carolina State University

Department of Physics


My career has introduced me to research in nuclear physics in a wide variety of formats, however an underlying description is largely summarized as Nuclear Physics Beyond the Range of the Nuclear Force. I was initially trained in intermediate energy nuclear physics using rare isotope beams that were produced by fragmentation reactions. My initial interest had focused on weakly bound nuclei whose valence nucleons form a cloud around a central nucleus core: halo nuclei. My early investigations used breakup reactions to study the valence nucleon wavefunctions, later it became possible to study the nuclear surface using proton elastic and inelastic scattering experiments.


More recently, I have been involved in studies of low-energy capture reactions using polarized beams at Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory. Low-energy capture reactions are of significant interest for nuclear astrophysics and an understanding of Big Bang nucleosynthesis, and because the Coulomb barrier provides an energy barrier that is classically impassible, these capture reactions occur at separation distances that are greater than 10 fm. By studying these reactions using polarized beams it is possible to determine more detailed information about the reaction mechanism, and therefore to make reliable extrapolations of the reaction rates at energies that are currently too low to measure in the laboratory.


In addition to these major topics, I have been involved in projects that include near threshold deuteron photodisintegration, electro production of f-mesons at 4.2 GeV, spectroscopy measurements of 10Li and searches for the existence of nuclei such as 26O.


Presently, I am involved with the TUNL Nuclear Data Evaluation program. Following the retirement of Fay Ajzenberg-Selove, TUNL assumed responsibility for evaluating nuclei in the A=3-20 mass range. Our primary responsibilities involve the continued production of reviews for the Energy Levels of Light Nuclei series, which is published in Nuclear Physics A, responsibility for updating the ENSDF data base at the National Nuclear Data Center at Brookhaven, and the maintenance of a website for dissemination of relevant information for A=3-20 nuclei.