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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 56

by Professor W. Scheid, University, Giessen (Germany) and Professor A. Sandulescu, Institute of Atomic Physics, Bucharest (Romania)

This volume (NATO ASI SERIES B334) contains the lectures and contributions presented at the NATO Advanced Study Institute on "Frontier Topics in Nuclear Physics" held at Predeal in Romania from 24 August to 4 September 1993. The main topics of the ASI were cluster radioactivity, fission and fusion, the production of very heavy elements, nuclear structure described with microscopic and collective models, weak interaction and double beta decay, nuclear astrophysics and heavy ion reactions from low to ultrarelativistic energies.

The first chapter contains the lecture by Professor W. Greiner on the "Present and future of nuclear physics", showing the most important new directions of research and the interdisciplinary relations of nuclear physics with other fields of physics. The second chapter deals with cluster radioactivity, cold fission and fusion. Cluster radioactivity is the spontaneous emission of carbon, fluorine or other light nuclei out of very heavy nuclei. This new field of nuclear physics began its development at the Institute of Atomic Physics in Bucharest (Romania) more than 15 years ago when lifetimes for cluster radioactivity were theoretically predicted. Today cluster radioactivites are measured in various laboratories throughout the world. Cold fission can be experimentally observed by measuring fragments with minimal kinetic energy. Cold deformed fission is discussed in connection with the ternary fission of uranium where in between the heavier fragments light clusters are found with similar mass numbers as observed in cluster radioactive decays. The experimental study of the excitation spectra of fragments of spontaneous fission opens up the unique possibility of invetigating the nuclear structure of exotic isotopes.

Other major parts of the book are the lectures on nuclear structure presented in chapters III (Heavy elements) and IV (Nuclear structure). This important field is presently experiencing a renaissance which is supported by new experimental techniques such as the crystal-ball spectrometers and by refined theoretical models including clusterisation of nuclei and continuum states. The search for new elements with charge number larger than 111 is now based on new estimates of the nuclear stability against alpha decay and fission. Multinucleon transfer and fusion-fission reactions are proposed as alternative paths for the heavy elements synthesis.

The double beta decay allows to fix an upper bound of the neutrino mass. The newest results of double beta decay of 76Ge, obtained in the Gran Sasso experiment, are given in chapter V on weak interaction and double beta decay. The last three chapters of the book are mainly devoted to nuclear reactions and heavy ion collisions in connection with astrophysics (chapter VI), heavy ion physics (chapter VII) and miscellaneous physics (chapter VIII). In these these chapters we mention the investigations of resonance structures in cross sections seen in light and medium heavy ion collisions, which are essential for the understanding of nuclear molecules and of the cosmological (astrophysical) synthesis of light nuclei.

The book is a very useful source of information for all researchers working in the field of nuclear physics, weak interaction and astrophysics.
Reference books: B80, B153, B216, B333, B334, B335

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