Astronomy Colloquium for 2023-11-01

Series: Astronomy Colloquium
Date: Wednesday 01-Nov-2023
Time: 16:05-17:00 (4:05-5:00 pm)
Location: 2400 ATL
Speaker: Ms. Jillian Rastinejad (Northwestern University)
Title: Observing the sites of R-Process Nucleosynthesis

Thanks to the landmark discovery of the first binary neutron star (NS) merger detected via gravitational waves (GWs) and its accompanying thermal explosion, a so-called ``kilonova'', it is widely accepted that NS mergers contribute significantly to the Universe's production of heavy elements. However, it remains an open question whether kilonovae are the only astronomical site of heavy element formation in our Universe. In this talk, I will discuss our work expanding our view of the diversity of kilonovae and their heavy element yields using observations following bright, high-energy, cosmological flashes called gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and GW signals. I will highlight our recent discovery of a nearby kilonova that provides a striking counterexample to a decades-long held GRB paradigm. I will also discuss a potential secondary source of heavy element nucleosynthesis and our efforts to leverage the Hubble Space Telescope to observe their formation. Finally, I will show that JWST and, soon, Roman observations can provide an unprecedented view of these sites and answer numerous open questions about the creation of heavy elements.

In-person colloquia are usually preceded by espresso and ice cream at 1:45 pm outside room PSC 1150 and are followed by an informal reception at 5:15 pm in that room. Anyone interested in talking with the speaker, or being added to the colloquium announcement email list, should contact the colloquium organizer Dr. Leslie Sage. Lunch will normally be reserved for the speaker to talk to graduate students. Anyone asking a question during a talk is asked to raise their hand and be acknowledged before speaking. Contact Dr. Leslie Sage for details.

Colloquium Organizer: Dr. Leslie Sage


Special accommodations for individuals with disabilities can be made by calling (301) 405-3001. It would be appreciated if we are notified at least one week in advance.


Directions and information about parking can be found here.

This page was automatically generated on: 17-Aug-2023.