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Physics Department Colloquium
Nuclei and Cosmos
Date: Friday, September 30th
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin hall
Speaker: Ani Aprahamian, Notre Dame University
Abstract: : The Origin of the Heavy Elements in the Universe was identified as one of the Eleven Unanswered questions in Physics and Astronomy at the beginning of the 21st century. The question in intertwined in the complexities of the cosmos with the properties of nuclei. The universe can and does synthesize the heavy elements but the question regarding the site(s) of the synthesis remains unresolved. My talk will focus on an attempt to use nuclear properties as a tool to perhaps distinguish between two of the popularly proposed sites of compact object mergers and core collapse supernovae. We have just completed a comprehensive sensitivity study of the exotic nuclei that have the largest impact on the rapid neutron capture process (the main mechanism for producing the heavy elements). Our next goal is to measure the masses, decay rates, and neutron capture rates of these very exotic nuclei. Facilities such as FRIB (Facility for Rare Isotope Beams) now in construction at Michigan State University will allow us to reach the presently unreachable nuclei in the laboratory. Studies of nuclei along with the astrophysical messengers from gravitational waves to neutrinos point to a promising solution of at least one of the outstanding open questions.
Host: Baha Balantekin
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