In the past few months, the Nuclear Theory group of the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics has had several successes. After five years and much path-breaking work on the topic of shape coexistence in atomic nuclei, two articles by Andriana Martinou, Dennis Bonatsos, et al, published in the journal Symmetry, in January 2023, a review of the proxy-SU(3) symmetry (DOI https://doi.org/10.3390/sym15010169) and an article proving the existence of islands of shape coexistence using covariant density functional theory (DOI https://doi.org/10.3390/sym15010029), have been selected as Feature Papers by the editors of the journal. These articles appear In September 2023, another long review article of Andriana and Dennis on the islands of shape coexistence appeared on the cover of the journal Atoms (DOI https://doi.org/10.3390/atoms11090117).
This work is based in two recent and radical ideas suggested by Andriana Martinou in her Ph.D. thesis, carried out in INPP, and defended in January 2018. There, Andriana suggested the existence of SU(3) symmetry in heavy nuclei, under the name of proxy-SU(3), at times in which the application of SU(3) beyond the lightest nuclei was considered nonsense. Based on the proxy-SU(3) symmetry, she also suggested that the effect of shape coexistence in atomic nuclei, under intensive experimental investigation at modern radioactive ion beam facilities worldwide, could only occur within certain islands on the nuclear chart, at times in which the whole world community believed that the effect can appear everywhere.
History is proving again the relevance of the almost 60 years old verse
“…row the dark river upstream, take the neglected road blindly, stubborn…”
(G. Seferis, Summer Solstice IX, 1966)