Chronicle of the discovery of the back-bending phenomenon in atomic nuclei: a personal recollection 50 years on
Department of Physics, University of Lund, Lund, Sweden
Accepted: 13 July 2021
Published online: 31 August 2021
A chronicle describing the historical context and the development of ideas and experiments leading to the discovery of the back-bending phenomenon in rapidly rotating atomic nuclei some 50 years ago is presented. The moment of inertia of some atomic nuclei increases anomalously at a certain rotational frequency, revealing important clues to our understanding of nuclear structure. I highlight the decisive interactions and contacts between experimentalists and theorists, which created the right environment, allowing for the revelation of an undetected phenomenon in Nature. Finally, I reflect on the key points allowing for the discovery and particularly point to the importance of systematic surveys, which in this case investigated the energy levels in heavy nuclei of a large sample of elements, as well as to the accuracy of the measurements of the ground state levels made at the time.
© The Author(s) 2021
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