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A team of researchers from various universities across the country, that included the chair of our department Dr. Christian Iliadis, has combined theory with both observations and laboratory studies and determined that a class of stellar explosions, called classical novae, are responsible for most of the lithium in our galaxy and solar system.

Lithium is commonly used in things such as batteries, heat resistant ceramics, and in mental health.

The results of their study have been recently published in the Astrophysical Journal of the American Astronomical Society.

Co-author Dr. Iliadis from UNC provided the numerical rates of the nuclear reactions that are a crucial ingredient for the computer simulations of a novae. Many of these nuclear fusion reactions have been directly measured over the past decade at the local Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory, which is a U.S. Department of Energy “Center of Excellence”.

This research has also recently been discussed in Forbes Magazine.

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