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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) are powerful stellar explosions that provide important distance indicators in cosmology. Recently, we proposed a new SN Ia mechanism that involves a nuclear fission chain reaction in an isolated white dwarf (WD). The first solids that form as a WD starts to freeze are actinide rich and potentially support a fission chain reaction. In this Letter, we explore thermonuclear ignition from fission heating. We perform thermal diffusion simulations and find at high densities, above about 7 × 108g cm−3, that fission heating can ignite carbon burning. This could produce an SN Ia or another kind of astrophysical transient.

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  3. Abstract

    A thorough understanding of neutrino–nucleus scattering physics is crucial for the successful execution of the entire US neutrino physics program. Neutrino–nucleus interaction constitutes one of the biggest systematic uncertainties in neutrino experiments—both at intermediate energies affecting long-baseline deep underground neutrino experiment, as well as at low energies affecting coherent scattering neutrino program—and could well be the difference between achieving or missing discovery level precision. To this end, electron–nucleus scattering experiments provide vital information to test, assess and validate different nuclear models and event generators intended to test, assess and validate different nuclear models and event generators intended to be used in neutrino experiments. Similarly, for the low-energy neutrino program revolving around the coherent elastic neutrino–nucleus scattering (CEvNS) physics at stopped pion sources, such as at ORNL, the main source of uncertainty in the evaluation of the CEvNS cross section is driven by the underlying nuclear structure, embedded in the weak form factor, of the target nucleus. To this end, parity-violating electron scattering (PVES) experiments, utilizing polarized electron beams, provide vital model-independent information in determining weak form factors. This information is vital in achieving a percent level precision needed to disentangle new physics signals from the standard model expected CEvNS rate. In this white paper, we highlight connections between electron- and neutrino–nucleus scattering physics at energies ranging from 10 s of MeV to a few GeV, review the status of ongoing and planned electron scattering experiments, identify gaps, and lay out a path forward that benefits the neutrino community. We also highlight the systemic challenges with respect to the divide between the nuclear and high-energy physics communities and funding that presents additional hurdles in mobilizing these connections to the benefit of neutrino programs.

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