The twisted shockwaves of an exploded star

Stellar Nucleosynthesis and Cosmochemistry

The astonishing view of the night sky gives us a grasp of countless stars.

They all shine like distant suns following the dictates of basic physics laws: the conservation of mass, momentum and energy. These stars are evolving, and nuclear reactions in the centre change their composition producing new elements. Carbon, oxygen, sodium, iron, gold – they are all “baked” in stars.

At the E.A. Milne Centre we explain and predict how these elements are made in stars and then ejected in space, by using theoretical stellar models that live and evolve in supercomputers. Our goal is to reproduce the life and the chemical production observed in real stars, but in a short amount of time.  This is possible by taking advantage of present computer technologies with modern computing tools.

Stellar nucleosynthesis and cosmochemistry are meant to explore the mysteries of these stars shining in the night sky, and to reveal the origin of the oxygen that we breathe and of the elements in our body.

Students and researchers at the E.A. Milne Centre approach all the challenges and open questions of this field of research using a modern multi-disciplinary methodology, collaborating with world-leading international research groups in the UK and abroad.

Students and staff: Marco Pignatari, Chris Jordan, Brad Gibson

Image: The twisted shockwaves of an exploded star. Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA) - ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Acknowledgment: J. Hester (Arizona State Univ.)