Lessons from two paradigmatic developments; Rutherford's nuclear atom and halo nuclei
Paper i proceeding, 2012
In its initial 1911 version, underpinned by discoveries in alpha-scattering experiments, Rutherford's atom model made a gross separation of neutral matter; A veil of light negative matter surrounding a tiny impenetrable heavy positive core. The model had however little to say about the atomic (electronic) architecture and dynamics, hence did not make it straight to the catwalk of physics of those days. Three quarters of a century later, in 1985, new discoveries in collision experiments revealed existence of abnormally large light nuclei, but could say less about the nuclear architecture. History sometimes repeats itself: Like Bohr's ad hoc planetary model (1913) changed the fate of Rutherford's discovery, again Scandinavian inspired ideas on architecture, this time nuclear halos, changed our paradigm for the heart of matter. We comment on the need for a concerted Rutherfordian effort between theory and increasingly complete reaction experiments if further ground-breaking progress is going to be made in halo physics, and physics in vicinities of neutron and proton driplines, and generally in the more widely growing field of many-body open quantum systems, where structure and reactions come together. © Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.