Professor Dr. SONIA BACCA

PRISMA Professorship for Theoretical Physics

Sonia Bacca joined the PRISMA faculty as professor at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in 2017. Her main research is in theoretical nuclear physics with a focus on few- and many-body methods, electroweak reactions, and muonics atoms.

Bacca is involved in predicting nuclear properties starting from the forces among nucleons and their interactions with external probes as described by chiral effective field theory, with the goal of forging a solid connection between experimental observations and the underlying fundamental theory of quantum chromo-dynamics.

Originally from Italy, Bacca gained her PhD in 2005 within a Co-tutelle cooperation between Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) and the University of Trento. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt from 2005 to 2008, and at TRIUMF in Vancouver from 2008 to 2009. Before coming to Mainz, she was a staff scientist at TRIUMF from 2009 to 2017, also holding an adjunct professorship at the University of Manitoba since 2013 and an Instructor position at the University of British Columbia since 2014. She is active as a referee for international peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Physical Review Letters, Physical Review C, Few-body Systems), has organized major conferences and workshops including the Nuclear Structure 2014 and the DNP October meeting 2016, and serves on several committees in Europe and North America.

Scientific Career

since 2017
Professor, JGU Mainz

Research Scientist, TRIUMF, Vancouver, Canada

Research Associate, TRIUMF, Vancouver, Canada

Postdoctoral Fellow, Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung (GSI), Darmstadt

Feb 2005
PhD within a "Co-tutelle de These" between the University of Trento and the University of Mainz

Main teaching and research topics

  • Few Body Systems
  • Halo Nuclei
  • Electromagnetic Nuclear Responses
  • Nuclear Astrophysics


Electric dipole polarizability of 48Ca and implications for the neutron skin
J. Birkhan, M. Miorelli, S. Bacca, S. Bassauer, C.A. Bertulani, G. Hagen, H. Matsubara, P. von Neumann-Cosel, T. Papenbrock, N. Pietralla, V.Yu. Ponomarev, A. Richter, A. Schwenk, A. Tamii, Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 252501 (2017)

Nuclear structure corrections to the Lamb shift in 3He+ and 3H
N. Nevo Dinur, C. Ji, S. Bacca, and N. Barnea, Physics Letters B 755, 380-386 (2016)

Charge, neutron, and weak size of the atomic nucleus
G. Hagen, A. Ekstr¨om, G.R. Jansen, W. Nazarewicz, T. Papenbrock, K. A. Wendt, B. Carlsson, C. Forssen, M. Hjorth-Jensen, S. Bacca, N. Barnea, M. Miorelli, G. Orlandini, C. Drischler, K. Hebeler, J. Simonis, A. Schwenk, Nature Physics 12, 186-190 (2016)

Electric dipole polarizability from first principles calculations
M. Miorelli, S. Bacca, N. Barnea, G. Hagen, G. R. Jansen, G. Orlandini, T. Papenbrock, Phys. Rev. C 94, 034317 (2016)

Electromagnetic reactions on light nuclei
S. Bacca and S. Pastore, J. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys. 41, 123002 (2014)

Full list of publications from inSPIRE