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Origin of the Elements: A Story of Stellar Nucleosynthesis

Molly Wakeling

Where do we come from? A fundamental question of the human species.  We might not know the answer, but we do know how the atoms that make up us, the sun, the planets, and the stars were made.  Many schoolchildren know that the sun is a star made of hydrogen and helium gas - much like the early universe.  But where did that original hydrogen and helium come from?  And what about the rest of the periodic table of elements?

The story of our chemical makeup is the story of nucleosynthesis.  Big Bang nucleosynthesis generated the seeds of hydrogen and helium within the first 20 minutes of the universe’s existence.  Long after that, the first stars formed, where a process slightly more complicated than you might think produces some of the heavier elements.  Stars can only produce atoms up to iron, however - the rest require far more energetic processes.

Speaker: Molly Wakeling, UC Berkeley

Saturday, 09/21/19


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East Bay Astronomical Society

Chabot Space & Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd
2nd Floor, Spees Bldg, Galileo Room
Oakland, CA 94619

Website: Click to Visit