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This program focuses on effective field theory as a means to create a unified structure for nuclear physics, spanning QCD, nucleon interactions, and many-body nuclear physics:
QCD has made major strides in recent years; accurate quantitative analyses of many low energy nonperturbative features of QCD are proliferating. Unfortunately, direct application of lattice QCD techniques to multi-nucleon systems remains far in the future. The situation is salvaged by effective field theory, which provides a connection between conventional nuclear physics and QCD. It is quite conceivable that the coupling constants in a rigorous effective pion-nucleon theory could be determined from lattice QCD simulations. One goal of this program is to make more precise what currently feasible lattice calculations would be of use for nuclear physics.
Recently there has been a concerted effort to progress from effective theories of pion-nucleon interactions to systematic treatment of multi-nucleon systems. There have been successes as well as obstacles encountered. The outstanding issues to be pursued in this program are how to increase predictive power in two nucleon systems; how to develop a consistent and practical power counting scheme in few-body systems; and how to apply effective field theories to nuclear matter calculations.
One of the most successful approaches for the treatment of finite nuclei is the shell model, and central to its application is the concept of an effective interaction. In part because nuclear physics developed in a time when computing was difficult, nuclear effective theories have been carried out crudely with many uncontrolled approximations. Several groups have been reexamining the problem, and the time seems ripe to explore parallels with effective field theory and to exploit whatever techniques can been transferred profitably to the many-body problem.
The purpose of this program is to bring together physicists in these three fields so that they can share their expertise in effective field theory and further its application to problems in nuclear physics.