University of Richmond Professor Jerry Gilfoyle Awarded $275,000 U.S. Department of Energy Grant for Nuclear Physics Research

September 5, 2018

Photo caption: Physics professor Jerry Gilfoyle (far right) led five University of Richmond students on a tour of the Jefferson Lab. The group is standing on the stairs leading up to one of the supporting structures of the CLAS12 particle detector, which is the large structure behind them.

Jerry GilfoyleUniversity of Richmond professor of physics Jerry Gilfoyle has been awarded a $275,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Energy to support his ongoing nuclear physics research.

This renewal grant supports the University’s electromagnetic nuclear physics program at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator facility (JLab). Located in Newport News, JLab is the newest U.S. national laboratory and recently completed a $340 million upgrade.

Gilfoyle’s research team will conduct a series of measurements and collect data that aims to better understand fundamental particles that form our universe.

“We've known for decades that protons and neutrons, the components of the dense cores of atoms, are made of even smaller particles called quarks and gluons, but the force that binds those particles together to form nuclei, and ultimately ourselves, is still a mystery,” Gilfoyle explains. “In the next year we will begin an experiment to better understand that process by measuring the distribution of electric currents inside the neutron to test different theories about the nature of those currents.”

Gilfoyle has taught at Richmond since 1987 and holds the Robert Edward and Lena Frazer Loving Chair of Physics. He is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and received a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

This grant funding includes stipends for two undergraduate research students.

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The mission of the U.S. Department of Energy is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.