Nils Paar received his Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics at Technical University Munich in 2003 (with Prof. Peter Ring), and held a postdoctoral position at Technical University Darmstadt, until 2006 when he moved at the Faculty of Science University of Zagreb and worked as assistant, associate (2009-), and full professor (2013-present). From 2014-2015 he was Marie Curie researh fellow at Universitaet Basel, Switzerland. His research interests include exotic nuclear structure and dynamics, neutrino-induced reactions, and nuclear astrophysics. His achievements are published in more than 108 publications in international scientific journals and conference proceedings, with more than 2400 citations (WoS). Contributions at international conferences and workshops include more than 60 talks (including 31 invited talks). In 2017 he received the Annual State Award for Science from the Croatian Parliament, for significant scientific achievement in natural sciences. Currently he is deputy head of the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science and member of the Senate of the University of Zagreb.

# Modern Theory of Nuclear Structure

and Nuclear Astrophysics

Nuclear structure theory is rapidly evolving from
macroscopic and microscopic models of stable nuclei towards vast
regions of short-lived and
exotic nuclei
far from the
valley of beta-stability. The main goal is a comprehensive description
of nuclei and their excited states based on a fundamental
understanding of the effective nucleon-nucleon interactions. Many nuclear
structure issues are relevant for processes in astrophysical
environments, and accurate global microscopic calculations are
necessary input in astrophysical applications.

Modern accelerators of radioactive nuclear beams, e.g. at GANIL(France), RIKEN(Japan), ORNL(USA), GSI(Germany), Louvain-la-Neuve(Belgium), CERN, etc. and especially the next generation of these facilities (e.g. Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) at GSI, Germany), will provide valuable insight into the structure and reactions of nuclei away from the valley of beta-stability. For understanding of these nuclear systems and their role in astrophysical processes which produce the most of the visible matter in universe, modern theoretical models of nuclear structure play a crucial role. One of the Eleven Science Questions for the New Century is: How were the elements from iron to uranium made? With a good chance of answering this question in the near future, nuclear structure and astrophysics find themselves on the threshold of the most exciting era in decades.

# Exotic Modes of Nuclear Excitations

The extreme isospin of nuclei far from stability and their weak
binding reveal unique structure phenomena such as neutron
halo
and
skin,
which play a crucial role in understanding of the
nuclear many-body problem
at the
limits of stability.
The multipole response of nuclei far from the beta-stability line and the possible
occurrence of new exotic modes of excitation presents a rapidly
growing field of research. Several theoretical studies suggested
possible existence of the
pygmy dipole resonance (PDR) in medium-mass
and heavy nuclei, i.e. the resonant oscillation of nucleons
from weakly bound orbits against the isospin saturated proton-neutron
core, and on the other side the experimental studies provide some
evidence on the low-lying dipole excitations, mainly based on
resonant photon scattering
or Coulomb excitation of fission fragments.
The properties of
observed low-energy dipole modes in nuclei with a pronounced neutron
excess is currently very much under discussion and further
theoretical studies are of outmost importance, not only to disclose
the nature of these novel physical phenomena but also to create
new ideas for experiments to be performed. Facing these challenges,
recently a new collective mode has been suggested by theory calculations
to appear in nuclei close to the proton drip-line:
proton pygmy dipole
resonance whose dynamics is governed by vibrations of protons from
weakly bound orbits against the core composed of other nucleons.
This exotic mode is currently awaiting for its
experimental confirmation.

The exotic modes of excitation are interesting not only as new physical phenomena, but also because they could play an important role in astrophysically relevant processes. The description of multipole spin-flip and isospin-flip excitations is essential in calculations of beta-decay, electron capture and neutrino-nucleus interaction rates. The low-energy dipole transition strength and PDR in neutron-rich nuclei have a pronounced effect on the calculated r-process abundances, i.e. on the production of chemical elements and on the propagation of ultra-high energy cosmic rays. On the proton-rich side the proton pygmy dipole resonance could contribute to the nucleosynthesis in rapid proton capture processes, as well as in the two-proton capture in astrophysical conditions characteristic for explosive hydrogen burning in novae and x-ray bursts.

# Neutrino-Nucleus Reactions and Weak Interaction Rates

Neutrino-nucleus reactions are of central importance in astrophysics
where the transport of neutrinos determines the rate of cooling of
many stellar objects, and their detection provides a unique way of
looking at such fascinating astrophysical phenomena as the interior
processes in our sun,
supernovae
explosions, and stellar nucleosynthesis.
These reactions are also essentially connected to another of the
Eleven
Science Questions for the New Century: do neutrinos have
mass? Since nuclei are used as
neutrino detectors in solar
experiments, supernova observatories and in
neutrino oscillation measurements,
it is of outmost importance to achieve a quantitative description
of neutrino-nucleus reactions in a fully microscopic theory.

Description of a neutrino-nucleus cross section becomes increasingly
complicated as the target mass number increases and accurate
self-consistent mean-field approaches must be developed and applied
in calculations for all relevant neutrino-induced reactions.
More generally, microscopic nuclear structure theory must be
integrated into various astrophysical models of nucleosynthesis
processes, supernova dynamics, and neutrino-induced reactions,
by providing accurate global predictions for bulk nuclear
properties and nuclear excitations.

Understanding of the nucleosynthesis of heavier elements during the r-process necessitates accurate knowledge on the neutrino-nucleus cross sections not only in stable nuclei but also in nuclei away from the valley of beta stability. In addition, quantitative description of neutrino-nucleus reactions will provide the relevant information for feasibility studies and simulations of low-energy beta beam facility which could produce neutrino beams of interest for particle physics, nuclear physics and astrophysics.

# The key Methods

## for the studies of nuclear structure, exotic excitations, and weak interaction rates...

# Relativistic density functional theory

based on modern energy density functionals, it allows not only a consistent, universal and quantitative description of nuclei along the valley of beta-stability but also extrapolations to the unknown regions of nuclide chart towards the particle drip lines.

# Relativistic quasi particle random phase approximation

derived from the small amplitude limit of the time dependent relativistic Hartree Bogoliubov model, it provides a consistent insight into relevant excitations for the weak interaction rates and exotic collective modes of excitation.

# Advanced scientific computing

is essential method in solving the nuclear many body problem based on coupled systems of differential equations and eigenvalue problems with huge matrices, in evaluation of large number of matrix elements, and in large scale calculations across the nuclide chart.

More details are available in the listed publications and references therein.