"The Explosive Lives of Stars: Producing Elements in the Cauldrons of the Cosmos"

Catherine Deibel, Assistant Professor
Louisiana State University


After the Big Bang the only chemical elements in existence in the universe were hydrogen, helium and a small amount of lithium. Many of the heavy elements we see in the Galaxy today were produced in explosive astrophysical environments. These range from relatively common explosions, such as classical novae, to more exotic scenarios. We will explore the explosive lives of stars, including novae, X-ray bursts, and supernovae; examining the explosive environments themselves and the resulting nucleosynthesis. I will also focus on recent experimental progress, much of which is the result of newly available radioactive ion beams that have allowed the study of some of these important reactions for the first time. The current status of our knowledge of explosive nucleosynthesis will be discussed as well as the on-going questions the face the community and future prospects for addressing those challenges.