MSU scientist earns U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Research Award

  • Aug 30, 2017
  • FRIB, NSCL, Faculty, Research, DOE, Award
  • Faculty & Staff, Research, Physics & Astronomy

A Michigan State University nuclear physics scientist has received a 2017 Early Career Research Program award from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science.

Heiko Hergert

Heiko Hergert is the recipient of an Early Career Research Program Award from the U.S. DOE Office of Science. His proposal was one of only 59 selected out of 700 submissions for the 2017 fiscal year.

Heiko Hergert, an assistant professor in the College of Natural Science’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, with joint appointments in MSU’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), was selected for the award under the office of nuclear physics program area for his proposal, “Advanced Ab Initio Methods for Nuclear Structure.”

The DOE’s Office of Science Early Career Research Program, now in its eighth year, provides financial support to scientists from universities and DOE national labs to help advance their research. Research proposals are peer-reviewed and selected under one of the following six program areas: advanced scientific computing, biological and environmental research, basic energy sciences, fusion energy sciences, high energy physics and nuclear physics. Out of about 700 proposals, 59 were selected for the 2017 fiscal year.

Heiko’s research focuses on using novel theoretical methods and large-scale computer simulations to model nuclei based on the fundamental interactions between the protons and neutrons they are made of. Reliable simulations of such nuclei require theoretical and computational advances whose development are a central goal of his Early Career research proposal.

“The exotic nuclei that FRIB will be able to produce are excellent laboratories for teasing out the fine details of these fundamental interactions,” Heiko said. “By confronting our calculations with new experimental data, we will be able to close important gaps in our understanding. I am honored to be a recipient of this highly competitive award.”

Heiko earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees from Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany. In 2009, he began his postdoctoral research at NSCL before transitioning to Ohio State University to continue his postdoctoral research.

From 2014 to 2015, he worked as a theory fellow at NSCL/FRIB and, in 2015, became an MSU assistant professor of physics.