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A mostly Dutch consortium of astronomers and physicists are going to probe the strong nuclear interaction from all angles in the coming 5 years. They have been awarded a 3.1 million euro grant to hire 10 young researchers working at the intersection between theoretical and experimental particle physics, nuclear physics astrophysics and astronomy. The project will be led by astrophysicist Anna Watts of the Anton Pannekoek Institute of the University of Amsterdam.
Drawing of a blue hourglass-like shape with an orange-red ball in the middle. The hourglass ends represent jets and the ball in the middle the interacting neutron stars.
Snapshot of a simulation of two merging neutron stars (c) Philipp Mösta et al

The strong nuclear force explains how quarks bind together into protons and neutrons, which in turn form atomic nuclei. Though the basic principles are well understood, it is often difficult to perform calculations, especially in situations involving large numbers of quarks, like inside neutron stars. In this project, theoretical and experimental particle physicists, nuclear physicists, astrophysicists, and astronomers join forces to look at the consequences of the strong nuclear force from different perspectives – using theoretical models, particle accelerators, gravitational wave detectors, and telescopes – and to understand this interaction over a wide range of temperatures and densities.