As the earth rotates along its axis, it wobbles a little bit. This wobbling comes, in part, from how mass is distributed across the planet. Nuclear physics researchers have now observed this same type of wobbling in Au187- a gold isotope that lives for just eight minutes. Fundamental science research like this can lead to major breakthroughs in a range of fields, including medical care.
Robert Janssens, Edward G. Bilpuch Professor of Physics in UNC-Chapel Hill’s College of Arts & Sciences, is a member of the research team that observed the wobble. The team published a paper on its findings in Physical Review Letters on Feb. 5.