Department of Particle Physics and Astrophysics

You are here

Igal Talmi

Professor Emeritus
Location:Edna and K.B. Weissman Building of Physical Sciences, Room

Current Research Interests

Most of my research is in the theory of nuclear structure. Nuclei are composed of a large number of nucleons - protons and neutrons-held together by the strong nuclear forces which overcome the electrostatic repulsion of the positively charged protons.  T *he problem of many strongly interacting particles does not lend itself to an exact theoretical solution.  Various approximation methods were developed to deal with it.  A very successful one is called the shell model, where it every nucleon is moving in some average potentia well due to its interaction with all other nucleons.  Hence, nucleons move in certain orbits in this effective central potential well, much like the atomic electrons moving independently in the electric field of the nucleus.  When such orbits are completely filled they form "closed shells" which are particularly stable.

To calculate energies and other properties of nuclear states in the shell model we must know the interactions between nucleons. The strong and short-ranged interaction between free protons and neutrons cannot be used for that.  It is possible to use shell model states only with a "tamed" or effective interaction which, however, is extremely difficult to obtain from the free nucleon interaction.  I developed a method in which the interaction is extracted from experimental nuclear energies. With this method, which is widely used, we and others obtained good agreement between predicted energies (and other properties) and experimental data.  This way we learned much about the nature of the effective interaction and how nuclear follow from it in various nuclei.  The theory which gives a good description of these properties was developed.  This description turned out to furnish the shell model basis of the elegant and successful interacting boson models.

My main interest now is to obtain a good and simple shell model description of nuclei which exhibit collective spectra like rotational bands. 


  1. Shell model analysis of nuclear energies in Proc. 1957Rehovot Conf.  Nucl.  Structure, H.J.Lipkin ed., North Holland, Amsterdam, 1958, p.31.
  2. Effective Interactions and Coupling Schemes in Nuclei, Rev. Mod.  Phys. 34 (1962) 704.
  3. Simple Models of Complex Nuclei, The Shell Model and the Interacting Boson Model, Harwood Academic Publishers, New York, 1993