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Mar 31, 2020

Physicists weigh in on the origin of heavy elements

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

A long-held mystery in the field of nuclear physics is why the universe is composed of the specific materials we see around us. In other words, why is it made of “this” stuff and not other stuff?

Specifically of interest are the responsible for producing heavy elements—like gold, platinum and uranium—that are thought to happen during neutron star mergers and explosive stellar events.

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory led an international nuclear physics experiment conducted at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, that utilizes novel techniques developed at Argonne to study the nature and origin of heavy elements in the universe. The study may provide critical insights into the processes that work together to create the exotic , and it will inform models of stellar events and the early universe.

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