2000-02 Postdoctoral Scholar, California Institute of Technology
2002-03 Research Associate, Institute for Nuclear Theory, University of Washington
2003-08 Assistant Physicist, Argonne National Laboratory
2008-12 Physicist, Argonne National Laboratory
2012-14 Visiting Assistant Professor, Ohio University
2014-15 Research Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina
2014-15 Adjunct Professor, San Diego State University
2015- Assistant Professor, San Diego State University
Before all that, I grew up at the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills, shown below in a photo that I took on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge.
Research
I am a theorist, and my research is in interconnected areas of
astrophysics and nuclear physics. I have most recently been working
on the physics of the early universe and on ab initio
calculations of nuclear reaction properties. I have also been known
to pursue research on the compositions of presolar grains recovered
from meteorites, stellar nucleosynthesis, galactic chemical evolution,
and numerical methods.
Student Opportunities
I am currently seeking bachelor's and master's students in the SDSU
physics program and doctoral students in the Computational Science
Research Center. Projects for graduate students will mainly be in
computational nuclear physics, using quantum Monte Carlo methods to
predict nuclear reaction properties of nuclei. Undergraduate projects
will be less intensive in the use of quantum mechanics and be focused
on the origins of the chemical elements or more-schematic models of
nuclei. All projects will be primarily computational in nature, and
students interested in working with me can get a head start by
learning to code. Just come talk with me sometime if you're
interested.
Those interested in working with me through the CSRC doctoral program
should already understand graduate quantum mechanics at the level
e.g. of the books by Sakurai or Messiah. Information about how to
apply to the program is
at the CSRC web
site.
The research group as of September 2019: Kiley Mayford (undergraduate), Ken Nollett (professor), Satish Chandran (master's student), and Abe Flores (CSRC Ph.D. student)
Nuclear reaction rates and primordial ^{6}Li
Kenneth M. Nollett, Martin Lemoine, and David N. Schramm Phys. Rev. C 56,
1144 (1997)
Sharpening the predictions of big-bang nucleosynthesis
Scott Burles, Kenneth M. Nollett, James W. Truran, and Michael S. Turner
Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 4176 (1999)
Estimating reaction rates and uncertainties for primordial nucleosynthesis
Kenneth M. Nollett and Scott Burles
Phys. Rev. D 61,123505 (2000)
Six-body calculation of the alpha-deuteron radiative capture cross
section
K. M. Nollett, R. B. Wiringa, and R. Schiavilla
Phys. Rev. C 63, 024003 (2001)
What is the BBN prediction for the baryon density and how reliable is it?
Scott Burles, Kenneth M. Nollett, and Michael S. Turner Phys. Rev. D 63, 063512 (2001)
Big-Bang Nucleosynthesis Predictions for Precision Cosmology
Scott Burles, Kenneth M. Nollett, and Michael S. Turner Astrophys. J.
552, L1 (2001)
Radiative
alpha-capture cross sections from realistic nucleon-nucleon
interactions and variational Monte Carlo wave functions
Kenneth M. Nollett
Phys. Rev. C 63, 054002 (2001)
Did Very Massive Stars Pre-enrich and Reionize the Universe?
S. Peng Oh, Kenneth M. Nollett, Piero Madau, and G. J. Wasserburg Astrophys. J. 562,
L1 (2001)
Primordial nucleosynthesis with a varying fine structure
constant: An improved estimate
Kenneth M. Nollett and Robert E. Lopez
Phys. Rev. D
66, 063507 (2002)
Cool bottom processes on the thermally-pulsing AGB and
the isotopic composition of circumstellar dust grains
Kenneth M. Nollett, M. Busso, and G. J. Wasserburg Astrophys. J. 582, 1036 (2003)
The Piecewise Moments Method: A Generalized Lanczos Technique for Nuclear
Response Surfaces
Wick C. Haxton, Kenneth M. Nollett, and Kathryn M. Zurek Phys. Rev. C 72,
065501 (2005)
Modern theories of low-energy astrophysical reactions
L. E. Marcucci, Kenneth M. Nollett, R. Schiavilla, and R. B. Wiringa
Nucl. Phys. A 777, 111 (2006)
Short-lived nuclei in the early solar system: possible AGB sources
G. J. Wasserburg, M. Busso, R. Gallino, and K. M. Nollett
Nucl. Phys. A 777, 5 (2006)
Quantum Monte Carlo calculations of neutron-alpha scattering
Kenneth M. Nollett, Steven C. Pieper, R. B. Wiringa, J. Carlson, and G. M. Hale Phys. Rev. Lett.
99, 022502 (2007)
Can Extra Mixing in RGB and AGB Stars Be Attributed to Magnetic Mechanisms?
M. Busso, G. J. Wasserburg, Kenneth M. Nollett, and Andrea Calandra Astrophys. J. 671, 802
(2007)
On Possible Variation in the Cosmological Baryon Fraction
Gilbert P. Holder, Kenneth M. Nollett, and Alexander van Engelen Astrophys. J. 716,
907 (2010)
Solar fusion cross sections II: The pp chain and CNO cycles
E. G. Adelberger et al.
Rev. Mod. Phys. 83, 195 (2011)
(Contributions mainly to the sections on the reactions
^{3}He(α,γ)^{7}Be and
^{7}Be(p,γ)^{8}B.)
Asymptotic normalization coefficients from ab initio calculations
Kenneth M. Nollett and R. B. Wiringa
Phys. Rev. C 83, 041001(R) (2011)
An analysis of constraints on relativistic species from primordial nucleosynthesis and the cosmic microwave background
Kenneth M. Nollett and Gilbert P. Holder arXiv:1112.2683 [astro-ph.CO]
Combining ab initio calculations and low-energy effective field theory for halo nuclear
systems: The case of ^{7}Li +n → ^{8}Li + γ
Xilin Zhang, Kenneth M. Nollett, and D. R. Phillips
Phys. Rev. C 89, 024613 (2014)
BBN And The CMB Constrain Light, Electromagnetically Coupled WIMPs
Kenneth M. Nollett and Gary Steigman
Phys. Rev. D 89, 083508 (2014)
Combining ab initio calculations and low-energy effective field theory for halo nuclear
systems: The case of
^{7}Be +n →
^{8}B + γ
Xilin Zhang, Kenneth M. Nollett, and D. R. Phillips
Phys. Rev. C 86, 051602(R) (2014)
White paper: Determination of the Free Neutron Lifetime
J. D. Bowman et al., arXiv:1410.5311 [nucl-ex]
(The neutron lifetime is used to calibrate weak-interaction rates in the big bang.)
BBN And The CMB Constrain Neutrino Coupled Light WIMPs
Kenneth M. Nollett and Gary Steigman Phys. Rev. D 91, 083505 (2015)
Halo effective field theory constrains the solar ^{7}Be + p -> ^{8}B + γ rate
Xilin Zhang, Kenneth M. Nollett, and D. R. Phillips
Phys. Lett. B 751, 535 (2015)
The primordial deuterium abundance of the most metal-poor damped Lyman-α system
Ryan J. Cooke, Max Pettini, Kenneth M. Nollett, and Regina Jorgenson
Astrophys. J. 830, 148 (2016)
Models, measurements, and effective field theory: Proton capture on ^{7}Be at next-to-leading order
Xilin Zhang, Kenneth M. Nollett, and D. R. Phillips
Phys. Rev. C98, 034616 (2018)
S-factor and scattering-parameter extractions from ^{3}He + ^{4}He -> ^{7}Be + γ
Xilin Zhang, Kenneth M. Nollett, and D. R. Phillips
J. Phys G. 47 054002 (2020).
Teaching
Fall 2017, 2018, 2019:
PHYS 410: Quantum Mechanics
PHYS 604: Electromagnetic Theory
Spring 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020:
PHYS 197: Principles of Physics
PHYS 360: Thermal Physics
Spring 2016:
PHYS 360: Thermal Physics
Fall 2015 and 2016:
PHYS 604: Electromagnetic Theory
Past Teaching (at Ohio University)
Spring 2014:
Astro 1000: Survey of Astronomy
Fall 2013:
Physics 2001: Intro to Physics; One lecture section
Spring 2013:
Astro 1000: Survey of Astronomy
Physics 2052: General Physics
Fall 2012:
Physics 2001: Intro to Physics; One lecture section and three lab sections
Physics Careers
Some resources on the kinds of careers open to physics majors: