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P-A Colloquium: The synthesis of heavy elements in stellar explosions

Speaker:  Artemis Spyrou, Michigan State University

Title:  The synthesis of heavy elements in stellar explosions

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Refreshments at 3:50 pm in 1400 BPS.

Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2018, 4:10 pm – 5:10 pm
Type: Colloquium
Location: 1415 BPS Bldg.

Since its birth roughly 60 years ago, the field of Nuclear Astro­physics strives to provide a compre­hensive descrip­tion of element syn­thesis in the Uni­verse. While some of the astro­physical processes respon­sible for stellar nucleo­synthesis are well under­stood, others remained elu­sive for decades. Specific­ally, the pro­duction of elements heavier than iron has been one of the major open ques­tions in the field. An impor­tant break­through happened in 2017 when gravita­tional-wave and electro­magnetic observa­tories around the world, and in space, detected for the first time the merg­ing of two neu­tron stars, and identi­fied it as a main source of heavy ele­ment produc­tion in the Uni­verse. The puzzle, however, is far from solved. Inter­preting the observa­tions requires the under­standing of the nuclear pro­cesses that drive these events. This talk will focus on the critical nuclear proper­ties needed to ex­plain the neu­tron-star merger observa­tions. I will dis­cuss recent experi­ments performed at the National Super­conducting Cyclo­tron Labora­tory at MSU, as well as new initia­tives, and plans for the future at the Facility for Rare Iso­tope Beams.