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Nuclear astrophysics and stellar hydrodynamics: from the first generations of stars to the local Universe


We will study the origin elements from the first stars that formed after the big bang to metal-rich stellar populations like the stars in the bulge of our galaxy. Specific emphasis will be on how the nuclear production was different in the early phases of our Universe compared to the environments that are typical for our Milky Way galaxy today. Currently our knowledge on the early nuclear production in the first generations of stars is incomplete and not accurate, largely because established one-dimensional modelling approaches that have been developed and validated for stars in the local, metal-enriched Universe fail in the low metal-content regime of stars that formed shortly after the Big Bang.

This research project is timely because right now the stellar content of the early Universe, together with its cosmological context is moving into the observational grasp of the largest telescopes; in addition the nuclear physics experimental community is now developing new facilities that will provide much needed input data for our simulations.

In order to achieve the goals of this proposal we will integrate two work areas:
(1) investigate violent convective mixing and nuclear burning events in extremely metal-poor stars by means of large-scale, multi-dimensional and realistic stellar interior hydrodynamics simulations, and
(2) study the nucloesynthesis in such environments and in more metal-rich stars using a coupled full-nuclear network and stellar evolution approach, that incorporates the results from the multi-dimensional calculations.

The proposed project combines approaches and techniques from multiple disciplines, and research communities, involving both existing collaborations with the applicant¿s former institution (LANL, JINA) in the US, and new connections with specifically relevant expertise at the host institution (Keele University) and European collaborators (nuclear astrophysics at GSI, Darmstadt and CERN, Geneva).

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United Kingdom

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