Petr Navratil

Research Scientist (Theory) - TRIUMF
Group Member

Petr Navratil graduated with a M.Sc. in Physics from the Charles University in Prague and continued with his Ph.D. studies in Nuclear Physics at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Petr gained research experience as a postdoc at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and later at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he started his work on ab initio calculation for light nuclei. Petr then spent 10 years as a staff physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he continued to develop the ab initio approaches to light nuclei focusing in particular on nuclear reaction applications. Petr then join TRIUMF in October 2010 as a Research Scientist in the Theory Group.


Reactions important for astrophysics, such as 7Be(p,γ)8B, 3He(α,γ)7Be or the famous 12C(α,γ)16O are hard or impossible to measure at energies at which they occur in the stellar environment. The measurements are typically performed at higher energies and then extrapolated to the energy of interest. Predictive first-principles nuclear theory of these reactions is then essential. Even if low energy measurements are achievable in underground laboratories such as LUNA, the beam-target experiments suffer from electron screening absent in stellar environment. Again, the predictive nuclear theory becomes indispensable to extract the correct physics. The ab initio approach Petr has been developing, No-Core Shell Model/Resonating Group Method (NCSM/RGM), reached the precision to address these issues. An example of recent (and first ever ab initio) investigations within the NCSM/RGM include the 3He(d,p)4He fusion calculations relevant to the primordial nucleosynthesis and the calculations of the 7Be(p,γ)8B capture reaction important for the solar neutrino physics and the Solar Model. Ab initio calculations of the 3He(α,γ)7Be reaction are ongoing.