Neutron stars—compact objects with masses similar to that of our Sun but radii comparable to the size of a city—contain the densest form of matter in the universe that can be probed in terrestrial laboratories as well as in earth- and space-based observatories. The historical detection of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star merger has opened the new era of multimessenger astronomy and has propelled neutron stars to the center of a variety of disciplines, such as astrophysics, general relativity, nuclear physics, and particle physics. The main input required to study the structure of neutron stars is the pressure support generated by its constituents against gravitational collapse. These include neutrons, protons, electrons, and perhaps even more exotic constituents. As such, nuclear physics plays a prominent role in elucidating the fascinating structure, dynamics, and composition of neutron stars.
The Nuclear Physics of Neutron Stars
The Partonic Content of Nucleons and Nuclei
Deepening our knowledge of the partonic content of nucleons and nuclei represents a central endeavor of modern high-energy and nuclear physics, with ramifications in related disciplines, such as astroparticle physics. There are two main scientific drivers motivating these investigations of the partonic structure of hadrons. On the one hand, addressing fundamental open issues in our understanding of the strong interaction, such as the origin of the nucleon mass, spin, and transverse structure; the presence of heavy quarks in the nucleon wave function; and the possible onset of novel gluon-dominated dynamical regimes. On the other hand, pinning down with the highest possible precision the substructure of nucleons and nuclei is a central component for theoretical predictions in a wide range of experiments, from proton and heavy-ion collisions at the Large Hadron Collider to ultra-high-energy neutrino interactions at neutrino telescopes.