Visit Website | Image credit: Evan Berkowitz/Jülich Research Center, Lawrence Livermore
Using the Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, a team of researchers has calculated a fundamental property of protons and neutrons, known as the nucleon axial coupling, with groundbreaking precision. By applying lattice quantum chromodynamics (QCD) -- a numerical method for calculating the underlying physics of the subatomic particles that make up protons and neutrons known as quarks and gluons -- the team calculated the nucleon axial coupling with an unprecedented 1 percent precision, meaning all their computational results were in close agreement, or reside within a narrow distribution. The results also accurately matched longstanding experimental results. The new nucleon axial coupling calculation provides the research community with a critical benchmark for applying lattice QCD to nuclear physics problems. Ultimately, this and other calculations enabled by the team's computational technique could aid in the search for dark matter and help answer other outstanding questions about the nature of the universe. The project also used computing resources at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.