In less than 100 seconds, Peter Butler explains that, contrary to popular belief, most nuclei are not spherical but instead take on deformed shapes. Usually these shapes are high symmetry, because of the quantum-mechanical interactions between protons and neutrons inside the nucleus, but in rare cases these interactions can lead to more asymmetric forms, as was demonstrated recently as the REX-ISOLDE facility at CERN, where researchers created pear-shaped nuclei.

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