Speaker: Prof. Rebecca Surman
Title: Astrophysical Alchemy: Creating the Heaviest Elements Within the Galaxy’s Biggest Explosions
Abstract: While the origins of the light (hydrogen, helium) and intermediate mass (carbon through iron) elements found in our solar system are well understood, we still don’t know where roughly half of the elements heavier than iron were made. From the solar system abundance pattern of these nuclei, we can tell they were synthesized in conditions of high temperature and free neutron density. However, where these extreme conditions are found astrophysically is still uncertain. Here we will discuss aspects of heavy element synthesis in two potential astrophysical sites: the neutrino-driven wind of core-collapse supernovae and hot outflows from compact object mergers.
As always, the colloquium will be at 12:40 in Room N304, with pizza and soda available at 12:20 for those attending the talk. For details of future colloquia, see the Fall 2010 colloquium schedule.