Pioneer in calculations of few-to-many-body systems passes

By NPL News
October 16, 2018

Steven C. Pieper, a pioneer in calculations of few-to-many-body systems, passed away last week.  Dr. Pieper received his Ph.D. in nuclear theory from UIUC in 1970 after receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester.  After a post-doctoral fellowship at Case Western, he moved to Argonne where he worked for over 50 years.  In the early 1980s he began a collaboration with Vijay Pandharipande and Bob Wiringa—the Urbana-Argonne collaboration—undertaking nothing less than detailed, first principles structural calculations of the largest nuclei possible—now heading up into the oxygen region.  This required making advantageous use of the high performance computing resources available at Argonne and elsewhere, Dr. Pieper’s long-time forte, work that continues to this day.  Among many contributions, these calculations helped us to understand the neutron halo nuclei helium-6 and helium-8 and is currently being applied to calculate electromagnetic and weak interaction responses necessary to interpret measurements in the search for sterile neutrinos. Bob and Steve shared the 2010 APS DNP Bonner Memorial prize for this work.