Nucleosynthesis Periodic Tables
The buildup of heavy elements from lighter ones by nuclear fusion.
From the Encyclopedia of Science:
Today most element-building nucleosynthesis takes place in stars.
Stellar nucleosynthesis converts hydrogen into helium, either by the proton-proton chain or by the carbon-nitrogen-oxygen cycle. As a star evolves, a contracting superdense core of helium is produced from the conversion of hydrogen nuclei into helium nuclei.
Eventually, the temperature and pressure inside the core become high enough for helium to begin fusing into carbon. If the star has more than about twice the Sun's mass, a sequence of nuclear reactions then produces heavier elements such as oxygen, silicon, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Successively heavier elements, as far as iron (in the most massive stars) are built up in later stages of stellar evolution by the triple-alpha process. The heaviest elements of all are produced by explosive nucleosynthesis in supernova explosions, by mechanisms such as the p-process, r-process, and s-process:
Our quest to explain the origin of the elements started in the late 1950's by two famous papers independently - E. M. Burbidge et al., Rev. Mod. Phys. 29, 547 (1957) & A.G.W. Cameron, Pub. Astron. Soc. Pac. 69, 201 (1957) - whose authors claimed that the elements are created in astrophysical environments. This is the well-known periodic table of elements, but where each element is labeled by the environment that is created (e.g Supernova explosion etc.).
In 2017 the LIGO gravitional wave detector identified the merger of two neutron stars, an event which produces large quantities of gold, platinum etc. Thus, an updated periodic table of nucleosyntheis looks like this:
|Periodic Table, What is it showing?||
© Mark R. Leach 1999-
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