Dr. Sally Hicks currently serves as the Interim Dean of Constantin College and Professor
of Physics at UD, a Visiting Scholar at the University of Kentucky, and Director of
the Electrical Engineering and Physics Dual-Degree Program with the University of
Texas, Arlington. She also directs the Clare Boothe Luce Program for women in computer
science, engineering, mathematics and physics, after UD was awarded a $290k scholarship
grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support undergraduate female students in those
areas of study.
Her research is funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration to complete neutron scattering measurements on nuclei of interest for energy production and national security, as well as to help us better understand how neutrons interact with matter. This research has included many undergraduate students who have gone on to become scientists, engineers, high school teachers, medical professionals, and leaders in other occupations.
B.S., Physics and Mathematics, Eastern Kentucky University (1981)
M.S., Physics, University of Kentucky (1984)
Ph.D., Nuclear Physics, University of Kentucky (1988)
PHY 2305 General Physics I (Trig-Based)
PHY 2312/2112 General Physics II (Calc-Based) & Lab
PHY 3320/3120 Quantum Physics & Lab
PHY 3341/3141 Optics & Lab
PHY 3V68 Integrated Science Laboratory
PHY 4153 Physics Seminar
PHY 4327 Electromagnetic Theory
PHY 4423 Theoretical Mechanics
PHY 4364 Nuclear Physics
Dr. Hicks' research is currently funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Stewardship Science Academic Programs (SSAP) of the Department of Energy. The NNSA/SSAP supports academic research in the areas of materials under extreme conditions, low energy nuclear science (neutron scattering cross sections in our case), radiochemistry, and high energy density physics. Moreover, an important focus of the program is to provide hands-on training and experience to students who will be the next generation of scientists and physicists.
The measurement of these important neutron scattering cross sections can be completed by only a few facilities worldwide, and the UK Accelerator Laboratory, with its advanced neutron production and detection capabilities, is uniquely suited for these measurements. The high-quality data produced at UK will be utilized by data evaluators, theorists, and engineers in producing safer, cleaner, more-efficient energy sources, more precise and accurate security systems, and will help us better understand the nuclear force.
A consortium of three universities (UD, the University of Kentucky and the United States Naval Academy) has been formed to provide the necessary breadth for this effort and includes scientists with extensive experience in neutron elastic and elastic scattering measurements and with direct access to the facilities for completing the proposed neutron measurements, i.e., the UK Accelerator Laboratory. This three-year project, which will integrate closely with other interested national/international groups of scientists and engineers, will provide partial support for faculty and staff to complete the research and support fully training in neutron physics for six to ten university undergraduate students, a graduate student, and a postdoctoral scholar, thus helping address the nations need to improve the nuclear science and engineering infrastructure so the industry will be prepared for future expansion. Funding will be available during the next three years for one-to-two UD undergraduate students to participate in measurements and data analyses. This neutron scattering program was previously funded under the Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) umbrella of the Department of Energy from 2010-2016 and supported seventeen undergraduate research projects. My students and I also conduct research in the area of nuclear structure, specifically the structure of the Z=52 isotopes. Low-lying excited levels of the even-even Tellurium nuclei are being investigated using g-ray spectroscopy following inelastic neutron scattering. This reaction mechanism allows us to determine the lifetimes of levels in the few femtosecond to few picosecond region and to deduce electromagnetic transition rates. From these investigations we are able to learn about the collective properties of the nucleus. In particular, we can study multi-phonon excitations, intruder excitations, and states of mixed neutron-proton symmetry. The experiments conducted for these nuclear structure studies were funded by the National Science Foundation.
Current Research Grant:
National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE): “Investigations leading to a greater accuracy in the knowledge of low energy cross sections of stable and unstable nuclei and corresponding reaction rates for neutron, gamma, and ion-induced reactions,” Award amount: Total: $690,000, UD: $178,000; received March 2016 for three years (Co-PI on Consortium Grant with Steven W. Yates (U. KY, PI) and Jeffrey R. Vanhoy (USNA, Co-PI))
“54Fe Neutron Elastic and Inelastic Scattering Differential Cross Sections from 2-6 MeV,” J.R. Vanhoy, S.H. Liu, S.F. Hicks, B.M. Combs, B.P. Crider, A.J. French, E.A. Garza, T. Harrison, S.L. Henderson, T.J. Howard, M.T. McEllistrem, S. Nigam, R.L. Pecha, E.E. Peters, F.M. Prados-Estévez, A.P.D. Ramirez, B.G. Rice, T.J. Ross, Z.C. Santonil, L.C. Sidwell, J.L. Steves, B.K. Thompson, and S.W. Yates, Nucl. Phys. A972, 107-120 (2018).
"Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Nuclear Physics", S.F. Hicks, T.D. Nguyen, D.T. Jackson, S.G. Block, S.T. Byrd, M.T. Nickel, J.R. Vanhov, E.E. Peters, A.P.D. Ramírez, M.T. McEllistrem, S. Mukhopadhyay, and S.W. Yates. Physics Procedia, Volume 90, 2017, Pages 323-331. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1875389217301839
"Research at the University of Kentucky Accelerator Laboratory", S.F. Hicks and M.A.
Kovash. Physics Procedia, Volume 90, 2017, Pages 440-447. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1875389217302079
"Inspection of 56Fe γ -Ray angular distributions as a function of incident neutron energy using optical model approaches," J.R. Vanhoy, A.P. Ramirez, D.K. Alcorn-Dominguez, S.F. Hicks, E.E. Peters, M.T. McEllistrem, S. Mukhopadhyay, and S.W. Yates, EPJ Web of Conferences 146, 11051 (2017). DOI: 10.1051/epjconf/20171461
"Level lifetimes and the structure of 134Xe from inelastic neutron scattering," E.
E. Peters, A. Chakraborty, B. P. Crider, S. F. Ashley, E. Elhami, S. F. Hicks, A.
Kumar, M. T. McEllistrem, S. Mukhopadhyay, J. N. Orce, F. M. Prados-Estévez, and S.
W. Yates, Phys. Rev. C 96, 014313 (2017). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.96.014313
"Neutron scattering cross section measurements for 56Fe," A. P. D. Ramirez, J. R. Vanhoy, S. F. Hicks, M. T. McEllistrem, E. E. Peters, S. Mukhopadhyay, T. D. Harrison, T. J. Howard, D. T. Jackson, P. D. Lenzen, T. D. Nguyen, R. L. Pecha, B. G. Rice, B. K. Thompson, and S. W. Yates, Phys. Rev. C 95, 064605 (2017). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.95.064605
"Collective quadrupole behavior in 106Pd", F. M. Prados-Estévez, E. E. Peters, A.
Chakraborty, M. G. Mynk, D. Bandyopadhyay, N. Boukharouba, S. N. Choudry, B. P. Crider,
P. E. Garrett, S. F. Hicks, A. Kumar, S. R. Lesher, C. J. McKay, M. T. McEllistrem,
S. Mukhopadhyay, J. N. Orce, M. Scheck, J. R. Vanhoy, J. L. Wood, and S. W. Yates, Phys.
Rev. C 95, 034328 (2017). DOI:https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevC.95.034328
"Lifetimes in 124Te: Examining Critical-Point Symmetry in the Te Nuclei", S. F. Hicks, J. R. Vanhoy, P. G. Burkett, B. R. Champine, S. J. Etzkorn, P. E. Garrett, S. W. Yates, and Minfag Yeh, Phys. Rev. C 95, 034322 (2017). DOI:https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevC.95.034322
“E0 transitions in 106Pd: Implications for shape coexistence,” E.E. Peters, F. M. Prados-Estévez, A. Chakraborty, M.G. Mynk, D. Bandyopadhyay, S.N. Choudry, B. Pl Crider, P.E. Garrett, S. F. Hicks, A. Kumar, S. R. Lesher, C. J. McKay, M.T. McEllistrem, J.N. Orce, M. Scheck, J.R. Vanhoy, J.L. Wood, and S.W. Yates, Eur. Phys. J. A (2016). 52: 96. DOI 10.1140/epja/i2016-16096-y.
Steven Block, “Searching for scintillation detector drift through analysis of recoil spectra from neutrons scattered from 12C and γ-rays emitted from radioactive sources 137Cs, 60Co, and 241Am" (2016).
ThienAn Nguyen, "Studies of Neutron Scattering Monte Carlo Simulations to Determine Background Radiation Sources and Neutron Trajectories" (2015).
Daniel Jackson, "MCNP Neutron "Simulations on the Effectiveness of the UKAL Scattering Pit and Vanadium Gamma-Ray Analysis" (2015).
"Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Nuclear Physics", S. F. Hicks, S. G. Block, S. T. Byrd, T. D. Nguyen, D. T. Jackson, J. R. Vanhoy, E. E. Peters, A. P. D. Ramirez, M. T. McEllistrem, S. Mukhopadhyay, and S. W. Yates, International Conference on Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry (CAARI – 2016), supported by University of North Texas, Sandia National Laboratories, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, Renaissance Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas, USA from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4, 2016.
“Neutron Scattering Studies at the University of Dallas: MCNP Modeling and Experimentation", S. F. Hicks, A. French, Daniel Jackson, Thienan Nguyen, Luke Pecha, Thaddeus Howard, Ben Rice, J. R. Vanhoy, E. E. Peters, M. T. McEllistrem, A. P. Ramirez, and S.W. Yates, Stewardship Science Academic Programs (SSAP) Symposium, Feb. 17-18, 2016, Bethesda, MD.