Understanding the massive-star origin of our elements:
A unified understanding of stellar yields
The chemical elements that determine our daily lives were produced by generations of stars. Elements heavier than helium (and a tiny bit of lithium) would not exist without stars. Massive stars, defined as those with initially 8 or more times the mass of our Sun, are particular key players in this so-called nucleosynthesis. Yet, we lack a proper quantitive understanding of all the processes participating in the production and distribution of chemical elements. Improving this situation is essential as our knowledge about the origin of the elements affects our view on astrophysics on all scales, ranging from the origin of water in our solar system up to the formation of whole galaxies in our Universe.
In the Hengstberger-Symposium Exploring the massive-star origin of our elements we focus on the particularly crucial impact of massive stars to the origin of our elements. In the last two decades, our picture of massive star evolution has become a lot more clear, but also significantly more complex: For example, we now know that not all massive stars explode as a supernova at the end of their lives, but a significant fraction collapses directly into black holes, thereby fundamentally changing their elemental contributions to the Universe. To discuss the impact of these and many other recent scientific results, we are bringing together researchers from different astrophysical fields such as stellar winds, supernova explosions, and galaxy evolution. A particular focus will be the inclusion of a large fraction of junior and early-career scientists to disseminate knowledge beyond traditional fields and plant a seed for new collaborations to gain a coherent understanding of the origin of our elements.
- Stellar winds of hot and cool massive stars
- Mass-loss treatment in stellar evolution
- Supernovae and neutron-star merger
- Dissemination of radioactive nuclides
- Chemical enrichment and evolution of galaxies