Rugby or football? ISOLDE reveals shape-shifting character of Mercury isotopes

An unprecedented combination of experimental nuclear physics and theoretical and computational modelling techniques has been brought together to reveal the full extent of the odd-even shape staggering of exotic mercury isotopes, and explain how it happens. The result, from an international team at the ISOLDE nuclear physics facility at CERN1, demonstrates and explains a phenomenon unique to mercury isotopes where the shape of the atomic nuclei dramatically moves between a football and rugby ball. Read more.

Tags: What Is an Isotope? Physics