The cosmic origin of the chemical elements

Friday, January 26, 2018 at 11:00am

Plasma Science and Fusion Center, NW17-218 175 Albany Street, Cambridge, MA

A talk by Anna Frebel, MIT

We are made from star stuff -- but how exactly? I will describe how elements up to and including iron are made in fusion processes within the hot cores of stars, and how all the heavier elements are synthesized in neutron-capture processes. There are a several astrophysical sites where neutron-capture can take place, including neutron star mergers. The LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave observatories recently detected the signal of a neutron star merger. The subsequent "kilonova" afterglow was detected across the electromagnetic spectrum. It was the result of an enormous production of heavy elements during the merger.

Event Type


Events By Interest

Academic, IAP (Independent Activities Period)

Events By Audience

MIT Community

Events By School

School of Engineering (SoE), School of Science


chemistry, LIGO, astrophysics, PSFC, Virgo


Plasma Science and Fusion Center
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