Nearly all the elements in the periodic table are “cooked up” by nuclear reactions in the stars. We will look at the entire “life cycle” of stars, from “birth” – the gravitational in-gathering of material in space to form a new star – to the long stable period during which the star shines brightly while heavy elements are being fused from lighter ones, to the star’s eventual “death.” That stellar demise often results in a supernova, spreading the star’s newly created elements through space: raw material available for forming new generations of stars and planets. Along the way, there are detectable markers which astronomers and physicists can use to discover and track the star’s composition and activity. The Hubble Space Telescope, along with other recent additions to the astronomer’s toolkit, enhance our understanding of these processes and give us examples of the beauty inherent in the natural world.
ZOOM LINK: Available to paid and registered members on our website https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
INSTRUCTOR: Les Blatt is Professor Emeritus of Physics at Clark University. His research interests include work in experimental nuclear physics and astrophysics, as well as modern approaches to learning and teaching science. He has created and taught WISE courses in a variety of areas including the relationships between science and more familiar aspects of our lives.
RECOMMENDED BOOK: Hubble’s Universe - Updated and Expanded Edition, by Terence Dickenson. Firefly, 2017. ISBN 978-1-77085-997-5
Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE)Assumption University, 500 Salisbury Street, Worcester MA 01609