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Making heavy elements in neutron star mergers and core-collapse supernovae

Wednesday 7 November 2018, 1.00PM

Speaker(s): Almudena Arcones, Technische Universität Darmstadt


Heavy elements like Gold and Uranium are produced by the rapid neutron capture process (r-process). Extreme neutron-rich conditions  are necessary for this process, which is linked to neutron stars. Two possible astrophysical scenarios have been suggested as the site of the r-process: core-collapse supernovae (where neutron stars are born) and neutron star mergers. Last year gravitational waves were detected from the merger of two neutron stars, GW170817, opening a new multimessenger era. Observations of this event revealed that  heavy, neutron-rich nuclei were produced. These nuclei are unstable and their decay leads to a kilonova light curve. In the talk, I will present 

which nuclei are created in neutron star mergers and how the kilonova is produced. We will also discuss the critical contribution of core-collapse supernovae to the chemical history of the universe.


Location: P/L 005