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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Physicist Paul Souder Awarded Grant for MOLLER Experiment Research

Posted on: Aug. 9, 2021

Physics professor Paul Souder has been awarded a $238,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for his project, Collaborative research: Apparatus for normalization and systematic control of the MOLLER experiment.

Souder’s funding will contribute to his collaborative work on the Measurement of a Lepton-Lepton Electroweak Reaction experiment, or MOLLER experiment, at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia.

The MOLLER experiment is designed to precisely measure the electron’s weak charge, which is a gauge of how much influence the weak force exerts on the electron. The weak force, which is the mechanism responsible for the radioactive decay of atoms, is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, which also include electromagnetism, the strong force and gravity.

The MOLLER experiment uses Jefferson Laboratory's state-of-the-art electron accelerator to study electron scattering. Souder and his students will be assisting in the construction of the detectors for the scattered particles, which is the heart of the MOLLER experiment.

Souder has been working on the MOLLER experiment for over 15 years and is among over 100 nuclear physicists from more than 30 institutions actively involved in the collaboration. His NSF award contributes to the funding for the MOLLER experiment, which is principally funded by the United States Department of Energy Office of Science, with other major sources of funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and Research Manitoba.