University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Astrophysics Talks Series > [Seminar:] Made of stars: The origin of heavy elements from neutron star mergers or massive stars

[Seminar:] Made of stars: The origin of heavy elements from neutron star mergers or massive stars

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  • UserAndrew Levan, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • ClockThursday 09 March 2023, 14:00-15:00
  • HousePhysics West 117.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Nathan Steinle.

The detection of gravitational waves and electromagnetic light from the binary neutron star merger, GW170817 , offers a new window into previously inaccessible questions. In this colloquia, I will focus on one of these; what the origin of the so-called r-process elements that make up half the elements heavier than iron? These include elements of high value (e.g. gold) and even some necessary for advanced life on Earth (e.g. iodine). I will highlight how the physical conditions created in neutron-rich material ejected through compact object mergers provide the ideal location for the synthesis of these elements, while the energy released in their decay powers an electromagnetic signature that may be straightforward to detect. An open question remains if mergers produce some, most or all of the heavy elements. I will discuss recent results showing that mergers can arise in somewhat unexpected places, as well as the possibility that some heavy elements form, not in mergers, but in supernovae.

This talk is part of the Astrophysics Talks Series series.

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