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Richard Prior, Ph.D.

Richard Prior
Title: Dept Head, Physics
Phone: 706-864-1511

Office: Rogers Hall 117A, Dahlonega
Areas of Expertise: Low-energy nuclear physics


Teaching: Undergraduate physics, especially introductory and advanced laboratory development

Administrative:  Department Head

Research: Low-energy nuclear physics (details below)

Courses Taught

PHYS 2211 – Principles of Physics I

PHYS 2211L – Principles of Physics Lab I

PHYS 3210 - Computational Techniques in Physics

PHYS 3310L - Modern Physics Lab

PHYS 3330 – Medical Physics

PHYC 3450 - Optics

PHYS 4011L - Advanced Physics Lab I

PHYS 4012L - Advanced Physics Lab II

PHYS 4910 - Introduction/Research Methods


  • Ph.D., Physics, University of Florida
  • M.S., Physics, University of Florida
  • B.S., Physics, University of Florida

Research/Special Interests

Since 1990 Dr. Prior has collaborated with physicists at Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) on the campus of Duke University.  Dr. Mark Spraker of UNG is also part of this collaboration. Primary research activities have been studying nuclear reactions at very low energies (£ 160 keV).  Reactions at these low energies are simpler to analyze and also are of interest in nuclear astrophysics.  In particular, the study of reactions induced by polarized proton or deuteron beams.  Most of the studies have concentrated on radiative capture reactions in which gamma rays are produced.  More recently, Dr. Prior and Dr. Spraker have studied reactions in which neutrons are produced.

In the past several years Dr. Prior has become increasingly involved with experiments at the High Intensity Gamma-ray Source (HIgS), located adjacent to TUNL at Duke University.  HIgS is a unique facility that produces beams of nearly monoenergetic, polarized gamma rays that are tunable in energy from 2 MeV to over 150 MeV (when the current upgrade is completed).  Experiments so far at the facility include the breakup of 2H and 3He by gamma rays, Compton scattering of gamma rays from 16O, parity determination by nuclear resonance fluorescence and development the experimental facilities.

Several students from UNG have gone to TUNL and worked on experiments there.  Several of them have subsequently made presentations of their research at national meetings of the American Physical Society.  There are currently several UNG physics graduates studying nuclear physics in graduate school at Duke University, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Florida State University.

The U.S. Department of Energy has supported Dr. Prior’s research since 1994.


M. C. Spraker, M. W. Ahmed, M. A. Blackston, N. Brown, R. H. France III, S. S. Henshaw, B. A. Perdue, R. M. Prior, P.-N. Seo, S. Stave, H. R. Weller, The11B(p,a)8Be -> a + a and the 11B(a,a)11B reactions at energies below 5.4 MeV, J Fusion Energ. DOI 10.1007/s10894-011-9473-5 (2011). 

S. Stave, M.W. Ahmed, R.H. France III, S.S. Henshaw, B. Muller, B.A. Perdue, R.M. Prior, M.C. Spraker, H.R. Weller, Understanding the 11B(p,α)αα reaction at the 0.675 MeV resonance, Phys. Lett. B 696 (2011) 26–29. 

Cross section measurements of the 10B(d,n0)11C reaction below 160 keV. S. Stave, M. W. Ahmed, A. J. Antolak, M. A. Blackston, A. S. Crowell, B. L. Doyle, S. S. Henshaw, C. R. Howell, P. Kingsberry, B. A. Perdue, P. Rossi, R. M. Prior, M. C. Spraker, and H. R. Weller Phys. Rev. C 77, 054607 (2008).

M. W. Ahmed, M. A. Blackston, B. A. Perdue, W. Tornow, H. R. Weller, B. Norum, B. Sawatzky, R. M. Prior and M. C. Spraker, Near-threshold deuteron photodisintegration: An indirect determination of the Gerasimov-Drell-Hearn sum rule and forward spin polarizability (γ0) for the deuteron at low energies, Phys. Rev. C 77, 044005 (2008).

A. Sabourov, M. W. Ahmed, M. A. Blackston, A. S. Crowell, C. R. Howell, K. Joshi, S. O. Nelson, B. A. Perdue, K. Sabourov, A. Tonchev, H. R. Weller, R. M. Prior, M. C. Spraker, B. Braizinha, and N. Kalantar-Nayestanaki, The 7Li(d,n0)8Be and 7Li(d,n1)8Be reactions below 160 keV, Phys. Rev. C 74, 064611 (2006).

J. E. McDonald, R. H. France III, R. A. Jarvis, M. W. Ahmed, M. A. Blackston, Th. Delbar, M. Gai , T. J. Kading, Y. Parpottas, B. A. Perdue, R. M. Prior, D. F. Rubin, M. C. Spraker, J. D. Yeomans, L. Weissman, H. R. Weller and E. L. Wilds Jr., In beam tests of implanted helium targets, JINST 1 P09003 (2006).

Y. Parpottas, M. W. Ahmed, M. A. Blackston, R. H. France III, B. A. Perdue, R. M. Prior, A. Sabourov, M. C. Spraker, and H. R. Weller, Astrophysical S factor for the 11B(d,n)12C reaction below 135 keV, Phys. Rev. C 74, 029903 (2006).

Sabourov A., M. W. Ahmed, M. A. Blackston, A. S. Crowell, C. R. Howell, B. A. Perdue, K. Sabourov, A. Tonchev, H. R. Weller, R. M. Prior, and M. C. Spraker, Astrophysical S factor for the 7Li(d,n0)8Be and 7Li(d,n1)8Be reactions, Phys. Rev. C 73, 015801 (2006).

Sabourov, K., M. Ahmed, S. R. Canon, B. Crowley, K. Joshi, J. H. Kelley, S. O. Nelson, B. A. Perdue, E. C. Schreiber, A. Sabourov, A. Tonchev, H. R. Weller, E. A. Wulf, R. M. Prior, M. C. Spraker, H. M. Hofmann and M. Trini, , Experimental and theoretical study of the 2H(d,g)4He reaction below Ec.m.= 60 keV, Phys. Rev. C 70, 064601 (2004).

Perdue, B. A., M. W. Ahmed, A. P. Tonchev, H. R. Weller, G. Feldman, V. N. Litvinenko, I. V. Pinayev, B. E. Norum, R. M. Prior, M. C. Spraker and B. D. Sawatsky, Compton scattering of polarized gamma-rays by 16O for Eg = 25-40 MeV, Phys. Rev. C 70, 064305 (2004).

Prior, R. M., M. C. Spraker, A. M. Amthor, K. J. Keeter, S. O. Nelson, A.Sabourov, K. Sabourov, A. Tonchev, M. Ahmed, J. H. Kelley, D. R. Tilley, H. R. Weller and H. M. Hofmann, Energy dependence of the astrophysical S factor for the6Li(p,g)7Be reaction, Phys. Rev. C 70, 055801 (2004).

Fransen, C., N. Pietralla, A. P. Tonchev, M. W. Ahmed, J. Chen, G. Feldman, U. Kneissl, J. Li, V. N. Litvinenko, B. Perdue, I. V. Pinayev, H. H. Pitz, R. Prior, K. Sabourov, M. Spraker, W. Tornow, H. R. Weller, V. Werner, Y. K. Wu, and S. W. Yates, Parity assignments to strong dipole excitations of 92Zr and 96Mo, Phys. Rev. C 70, 044317 (2004).

Nelson, S. O., M. W. Ahmed, B. A. Perdue, K. Sabourov, A. L. Sabourov, A. P. Tonchev, R. M. Prior, M. Spraker, and H. R. Weller, Analyzing power measurement for the 14N(p,g)15O reaction at astrophysically relevant energies, Phys. Rev. C 68, 065804 (2003).

zing power measurement for the14N(p,g)15O reaction at astrophysically relevant energies, Phys. Rev. C 68, 065804  (2003).

Work Experience

Professor and Head of Physics, University of North Georgia

Professor and Chair of Physics, West Georgia College

Professor of Physics, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Post-Doc, University of Notre Dame

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