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Hunting for Heavy Elements with Astrophysical Explosions
Add to Calendar 2021-12-08T21:00:00 2021-12-08T22:00:00 UTC Hunting for Heavy Elements with Astrophysical Explosions
Start DateWed, Dec 08, 2021
4:00 PM
End DateWed, Dec 08, 2021
5:00 PM
Presented By
Jennifer Barnes (UC Santa Barbara Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics)
Event Series: Astronomy Colloquium

Abstract:  Rapid neutron capture (r-process) nucleosynthesis produces roughly half of the elements in the Periodic Table more massive than Iron. The unusual conditions needed for a successful r-process, in particular the requisite high flux of (unstable) free neutrons, have made the astrophysical site(s) in which the r-process occurs an enduring mystery. Observations of the first detected neutron star merger, GW170817, in both electromagnetic and gravitational radiation yielded evidence that merging neutron stars, long favored theoretically as r-process sources, did indeed undergo heavy element nucleosynthesis. However, these same observations suggested that neutron star mergers may not be unique in their ability to produce r-process elements. I will present new insights on r-process sources, and discuss how models and observations of radiation from explosive r-process transients may help us unlock the origin of the heaviest elements in the Universe.

Astro Colloquium and 'coffee & cookies' Department gathering (3:45-4:00pm)

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