The quest for the cosmic sites that formed the elements in the Universe is fundamental to modern science, underpinning the origin of life and ultimately the origins of the Universe itself.
Primordial element synthesis during the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago created hydrogen, helium, and traces of lithium, beryllium, and boron. Though we know that elements heavier than hydrogen, such as carbon and oxygen – the essence of life, and all other elements are forged in fiery stellar furnaces, the exact element creation process remains enshrouded in mystery.
By observing ancient stars or stellar fossils, we can obtain elemental-fingerprints which can be used to rebuild the history of element creation. In the final instalment of Talking Space, join stellar astrophysicist Dr. Devika Kamath as she presents vital clues that unravel the mystery of the origin of the elements.
About the speaker:
Dr. Devika Kamath is a stellar astrophysicist. Her passion for astrophysics and nuclear physics led her to pursue her Ph.D in stellar astrophysics at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA), ANU, Canberra. She continued her research as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven, Belgium. Dr. Devika is currently a lecturer of astronomy and astrophysics at Macquarie University and jointly appointed as an astronomer at the International Telescope Support office of the Australian Astronomical Observatory. Her research is aimed at answering two important and long standing questions in astrophysics: “How do stars and planetary systems form and evolve?” and “How are elements synthesised in the Universe?”.