Physics Department Colloquia

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Events on Friday, May 4th, 2018

The microphysics of the GW170817 kilonova
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Rebecca Surman, Notre Dame University
Abstract: The optical signal that accompanied the GW170817 gravitational wave event
provided the first firm proof that neutron star mergers produce heavy
elements. Still, it is not known exactly which elements are produced by
mergers and in what proportions. A full understanding of neutron star
mergers and their role in galactic chemical evolution requires progress in
a number of areas. Two key areas are neutrino and nuclear physics.
Neutrino physics shapes the initial conditions for element synthesis, and
the nuclear physics of extreme neutron-rich nuclei governs how the
nucleosynthesis proceeds. Here we will review these microphysics aspects
of neutron star merger nucleosynthesis and discuss how current
uncertainties influence our interpretations of observed abundance patterns
and kilonova signals. We will then explore the promise of experimental
campaigns at rare isotope beam facilities to both reduce these
uncertainties and provide insight into astrophysical environments of heavy
element production.
Host: Baha Balantekin
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