Hadronic Physics Group (HPG)


The Hadronic Physics Group (HPG) conducts medium to high energy nuclear physics experiments in diverse research facilities in the world, including the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), the DESY Laboratory, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (TJNAF), The Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The group has a leading role at CERN in nd experiments at ISOLDE.

Research Experiments and Collaborations:

right arrowDarklight Collaboration
right arrowElectron-Ion Collider Users Group
right arrowFacility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB)
right arrowHen Lab
right arrowISOLDE at CERN
right arrownEDM Experiment
right arrowOLYMPUS Collaboration
right arrowQuantum Sensing Techniques for Nuclear Science
right arrowQweak Collaboration
right arrowRHIC Polarized Helium-3 Ion Source Development
J. Bernauer and UROP student

UROP student Cannon Vogel (left) and Research Scientist Jan C. Bernauer (right) assembling the DarkLight Phase 1A prototype detector at the LERF, June 2016



Faculty and Principal Investigators

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Research and Academic Staff

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Administrative, Support, and Technical Staff

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Using lasers with precisely tuned frequency, λ, physicists control rotational states of radium monofluoride molecules and excite specific rotational levels, characterized by the quantum number, J. These excitations manifest as sharp spectral peaks.


May 22, 2024

Precision spectroscopy and laser-cooling scheme of a radium-containing molecule

Ronald Garcia Ruiz

January 9, 2024

Assistant professor of physics honored for work on the development of laser spectroscopy techniques to investigate the properties of subatomic particles.

Ronald Garcia Ruiz

December 12, 2023

Bridging Talents and Opportunities event serves as an outreach initiative for the Latin community.

Some of the participants at Bridging Talents and Opportunities pose for a group photo.
Photo: Diana Grass

Bridging Talents and Opportunities Participants

November 1, 2023

Annual award honors early-career researchers for creativity, innovation, and research accomplishments.

Top row, left to right: Luca Carlone, Rafael Gómez-Bombarelli, Jeremy Hahn, and Song Han. Bottom row, left to right: Erin Kara, Jonathan Ragan-Kelley, Ronald Fernando Garcia Ruiz, Tobias Salz, and Alison Wendlandt.

2023 Sloan Fellows

February 16, 2023

For novel studies of exotic nuclei using precision laser spectroscopy measurements, including the first spectroscopy of short-lived radioactive molecules.

Ronald Garcia Ruiz

September 2022

New results from researchers at MIT reveal an unexpected feature of atomic nuclei when a “magic” number of neutrons is reached.

image illustration

July 14, 2022

Award provides five years of funding and access to a community of innovative scholars and leaders in science and technology.

image illustration

July 8, 2022

An art-science collaboration tests the limits of visual technologies.

visualizing the proton animation image

April 25, 2022

Radioactive molecules are sensitive to subtle nuclear phenomena and might help physicists probe the violation of the most fundamental symmetries of nature.


July 7, 2021

Shooting beams of ions at proton clouds may help researchers map the inner workings of neutron stars.

Shooting beams of ions at proton clouds, like throwing nuclear darts at the speed of light, can provide a clearer view of nuclear structure.

March 29, 2021

Findings on short-range nuclear interactions will help scientists investigate neutron stars and heavy radioactive nuclei.

Neutron star image: X-ray (NASA/CXC/ESO/F.Vogt et al); Optical (ESO/VLT/MUSE & NASA/STScI)

November 9, 2020

William Barletta, Ronald Fernando Garcia Ruiz, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Katelin Schutz, and Phiala Shanahan honored for contributions to physics.

William Barletta, Ronald Fernando Garcia Ruiz, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Katelin Schutz, and Phiala Shanahan honored for contributions to physics.

November 4, 2020

IAIFI will advance physics knowledge — from the smallest building blocks of nature to the largest structures in the universe — and galvanize AI research innovation.


August 26, 2020

Faculty from the departments of physics, chemical engineering, and mechanical engineering were selected for the 2020 Early Career Research Program.

DOE Early Career Recipients

July 15, 2020

Molecules containing heavy and deformed radioactive nuclei may help scientists to measure symmetry-violating phenomena and identify signs of dark matter.

radioactive molecule

May 27, 2020

James Collins, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, and Richard Milner have won top prizes for their work.

American Physical Society honorees

October 24, 2019

Physicists have developed the “Standard Model” that successfully explains atomic structure.

Illustrating the subatomic world

August 23, 2019

The Electron-Ion Collider Center at the Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (EIC Center at Jefferson Lab) has announced the winners of four fellowships...

tenured Ivica Friscic

August 7, 2019

Eight faculty members are granted tenure in five science departments.

tenured faculty

July 10, 2019

"For innovative, wide-ranging experiments that found important manifestations of nuclear neutron-proton short-range correlations."

Or Hen

July, 2019

Number of proton-neutron pairs determine how fast the particles move, results suggest.

Quark Speed

February 20, 2019

Cristiano Fanelli has been awarded the 2018 JSA Postdoctoral Prize for innovative solutions in optimizing particle detectors.

Cristiano Fanelli

October 22, 2018

The positively charged particles may have an outsize influence on the properties of neutron stars and other neutron-rich objects.

CLAS Detector

August 13, 2018

Proposal for powerful particle collider gets National Academies’ go-ahead.

In an Electron-Ion Collider, a beam of electrons (e-)

July 24, 2018

Research from the Qweak experiment provides a precision measurement of the proton’s weak charge. narrows the search for new physics.

QTor Magnet Spectrometer

May 10, 2018

Nuclear Physics News International, Volume 28, Issue 1, January - March, 2018 fea-tured an article on the OLYMPUS Experiment at DESY. This was an experiment lead by researchers from the MIT LNS Hadronic Physics Group to measure the contri-bution from two-photon exchange in lepton-proton scattering. This process is widely believed to be the cause of the striking discrepancy in the proton form factor ratio measured using polarized and unpolarized techniques. The OLYMPUS results, with results from two other experiments, measured only a small, ⟨ 1%, effect. This was less than expected from theoretical calculations but is consistent with the measure-ments in the momentum transfer regime measured. Experiments at higher energies and further theoretical work are still needed to understand the observed discrepancy in the proton form factor ratio.

Nuclear Physics News

May 9, 2018

Assistant professor of physics and Laboratory for Nuclear Science researcher recognized for major contributions to high energy and nuclear physics.

Or Hen

April 18, 2018

The cover article "The New Big Brother" in the February 2018 edition of National Geographic Magazine features on p. 56-57 the new cargo scanner that has been installed at the Port of Boston by Passport Systems, Inc. Further, the article mentions Bill Bertozzi and Bob Ledoux on p. 47.

National Geographic February 2018 Cover

February 27, 2018

A search for dark photons at the LHC comes up empty but puts new constraints on the strength of the hypothetical particles’ coupling to electromagnetic fields. Dark matter is aptly named. It emits no light and interacts with visible matter only via gravity. But dark matter might be only the tip of an invisible universe of unknown forces.

CERN Courier - Searches for Dark Photons at LHCb

PhysRev Figure

February 8, 2018

Nuclear Physics News International

The October-December 2017 quarterly issue of Nuclear Physics News International contains several items directly relevant to the Hadronic Physics Group. The laboratory portrait is of the MIT Bates Laboratory and is written by Bates Director Bob Redwine. The cover photo shows the Qweak toroid, which was designed, constructed and commissioned at Bates. Stanley Kowalski is co-spokesman of the Qweak collaboration. The editorial in this issue was written by Richard Milner. Finally, the issue contains an obituary for our late MIT faculty colleague Arthur Kerman by Ernie Moniz.

Nuclear Physics News cover

January 29, 2018

Interview With HPG Graduate Student Charles Epstein

Charles Epstein was recently interviewed on his research which is supported by a DOE NNSA Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship.

Charles Epstein

December 18, 2017

BLAST Quasielastic (e,e’p) Vector and Tensor Asymmetries Reported in Physical Review Letters

Over twelve years after data taking with the Bates Large Acceptance Spectrometer Toroid (BLAST) was completed, a paper by the BLAST collaboration reporting on vector and tensor asymmetries in quasielastic (e,e’p) scattering from deuterium was published in the November 3, 2017 edition of Physical Review Letters. The results provide new constraints both on the spin structure of the deuteron and the role of the tensor force in the neutron-proton final-state interaction. The work was based on the Ph.D. theses of MIT students Adam DeGrush and Aron Maschinot (supervised by Robert Redwine). The principal authors of the paper were Ricardo Alarcon, Douglas Hasell and Richard Milner.

Blast Figure

December 7, 2017

Dr. Adi Ashkenazy, received the dissertation prize of the Israeli Physical Society

MIT-LNS postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Adi Ashkenazy, received the dissertation prize of the Israeli Physical Society. In her graduate work, Adi searched for new physics with the Atlas detector at the LHC. For her postdoctoral research, she is now working with Prof. Or Hen on the the ‘Electrons 4 Neutrinos’ project, analyzing data from the CLAS spectrometer at Jefferson-Lab and the MicroBooNE detector at Fermilab.

Adi Ashkenazi

November 8, 2017

Prof. Robert P. Redwine received a Distinguished Service Award from the Division of Nuclear Physics of the American Physical Society at its recent annual meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. Prof. Redwine was recognized for his generous, dedicated service to the Division of Nuclear Physics in numerous roles spanning more than three decades and, in particular, for his thoughtful leadership of the ad hoc Funding Issues Committee, and the important role that has played in ensuring nuclear science remains a high priority for our nation.

Robert P. Redwine

November 8, 2017

HPG Members

HPG members attending EINN 2017 near Aphrodite’s Rock in Cyprus.
October 29 - November 4, 2017