Public Lecture: Heavy Metals from Giant Stars

While the chemical elements of Hydrogen and Helium were formed in the Big Bang at the starting point of our Universe, the heavier species were produced deep inside the stars in nuclear reactions. Through the combined fields of Physics & Astronomy humans have been able to determine the origin of the chemical species present in our Solar System. We know for example that most of the Oxygen in our atmosphere was created in ancient supernova explosions, which are the final phases of the lives of massive stars.

The Carbon in our bodies was made instead by stars covering a much wider range of stellar masses, from normal stars like our Sun through to the most massive stars. The biggest mystery today concerns the origins of the elements heavier than Iron.

HDS Poster (1)

In this talk, I will take you on a journey through the origin of the elements, with a special focus on where the heaviest species in nature are created. In order to do this, I will first discuss some of the basics about the life cycles of stars, which is intimately connected to the story of the origin of the chemical species.

Speaker: Amanda Karakas


A native of Australia, Prof. Amanda Karakas is associate professor at Monash University, in Melbourne. Completing her PhD in 2004, she has held prestigious fellowships in Canada and Australia, before taking up a permanent post in Melbourne. She studies the chemical enrichment of the Milky Way and the early Universe as a consequence of generations of stars polluting space with the products of nuclear reactions, and is author of over 100 scientific papers.

Date: Wednesday 12 September 2018

Venue: Armagh Planetarium – Copernicus Hall
Time: 7pm
Admission Cost: Adult £5, Child (under 18) free – but need to be accompanied by an adult (parent or guardian).

Tickets can be purchased at: