Rainer Weiss’s original talk has been rescheduled for the Spring semester.
CoSMS Public Lecture
Christian Iliadis, UNC Chapel Hill
“We are all made of stardust: Cosmic Furnaces and the Origin of the Elements”
19 different elements are essential for human life. The lightest of these are hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen; the heaviest essential elements are Molybdenum and Iodine. But where exactly were these 19 elements created? And where did all the other elements come from? The story of element synthesis involves the work of 12 Nobel laureates and will take us from astronomical objects (the universe and stars) to unimaginably small particles (atomic nuclei), from nuclear fusion to the weird world of quantum mechanics.
Christian Iliadis is the J. Ross Macdonald Distinguished Professor and Department Chair of Physics & Astronomy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a nuclear astrophysicist at the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory. He was born in Germany and received his diploma in physics from the University of Muenster. He then moved to the United States, where he worked on his PhD thesis at the University of Notre Dame. After a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship at TRIUMF in Vancouver, Canada’s largest nuclear physics facility, he accepted a faculty position at the University of North Carolina. He was awarded the prestigious University of North Carolina Board of Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014, and he is the author of the textbook “Nuclear Physics of Stars”.