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The authors review the theory and the empirical evidence of damping of simple nuclear excitations. The excitations considered are the particle states and vibrational states. The particle damping phenomena include the fragmentation of single-particle levels, the systematics of neutron strength functions, and the optical absorption of elastic scattering. Information on the known collective vibrational states is summarized and compared with theory. A theoretical model that has found considerabledoi:10.1103/revmodphys.55.287 fatcat:5ggwqgnvxzhwliq4zpouepz6zm