Physics Colloquium: Origin of the Elements

Event Details

Abstract

"We are star stuff". The famous quote by Carl Sagan refers to the fact that almost all elements were synthesized and \"cooked\" by nuclear reactions in stars. The elements are released at the end of a star's lifetime, and are subsequently incorporated into a new generation of stars, into the planets that form around the stars, and into the life forms that originate on the planets. Moreover, the energy we depend on for life originates in nuclear reactions that occur at the center of the Sun. Synthesis of the elements and energy production in stars are at the heart of nuclear astrophysics research. Our understanding of nuclear reactions in stars has seen extraordinary progress over the past 75 years. Early crucial insights were provided by Hans Bethe (Nobel Prize 1967), Willy Fowler (Nobel Prize 1983), and Raymond Davis Jr. (Nobel Prize 2002). Today, nuclear astrophysics constitutes a multidisciplinary crucible of knowledge addressing key questions in fundamental research, ranging from the age of the Universe to the origin of cosmic rays, from supernova explosion mechanisms to the origin of the solar system. This talk will provide an introduction to this research field and present recent results obtained at the Laboratory for Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics (LENA).

Refreshments

Coffee and Refreshments will be available in SSC 1511.