Compact objects: Weak interactions, equation of state, and nucleosynthesis

Prof. Liliana Caballero (host Dickhoff), University of Guelph, Canada
February 1, 2018 at 11:00 am
241 Compton
Event Description 

The answer to a question such as "where are the heavy elements synthesized" can be addressed via a consistent description of explosive astrophysical environments. Such a description requires connecting gravity, nuclear, and neutrino physics. By themselves, these areas present their own challenges. For example, the nuclear matter equation of state, which determines the matter evolution, is still an active research subject. Neutrinos, which play a key role in the setting of the electron fraction in supernovae and mergers, are affected by strong gravitational fields, neutrino oscillations, and the still not fully understood nucleonic in-medium behaviour. Key nuclear reactions, fundamental in the synthesis of elements, are not well constrained under astrophysical conditions. In this talk, I will discuss general relativistic effects on neutrino fluxes and their role in the synthesis of elements, show some of the consequences of the nuclear equation of state on the evolution of dense matter, and point out some of the challenges presented by nuclear reactions, e.g. neutron capture rates, in the synthesis of elements. In the spirit of connecting the micro with the macro I will also discuss plans to tackle these puzzles.

Coffee: 10:45 am, 241 Compton