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The Origin of (most of) the Elements

February 1, 2024
20:00 EST

Room 102, McLennan Physical Laboratories, 255 Huron Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Credit: Akihiro Ikeshita/Particle and Naotsugu Mikami (NAOJ)

Talk Abstract

Are we made of star stuff? The short answer, yes. The chemical elements that make us up, like carbon and iron, are created during the life and death of stars. In this AstroTour, we’ll dive into the long answer. We’ll explore the origin of "star stuff" (how elements are made, where it happens, and how we know) and answer questions like, where does carbon come from? Why is there a lot more lead than gold? And what are those weird elements at the bottom of the periodic table?

About the Speaker

About the Speaker


Mairead Heiger (she/her)

Mairead is a graduate student in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. She studies how a galaxy’s chemical makeup changes over time, which can help us understand things like the how stars form and the nature of supernovae. Mairead uses observations to decode the chemical history of small, ancient galaxies that orbit the Milky Way. Originally from Pennsylvania, Mairead completed her Bachelor’s degree there at the University of Pittsburgh. Outside of work, she spends most of her free time teaching her dog useless tricks.