Isotopic abundances reflect both nuclear structure and environmental history. Observations are providing new evidence that is helping us to understand astrophysical phenomena, the chemical history of the Galaxy, and the origins of the diverse isotopic abundances found on earth. What we infer from observations, however, depends upon a robust understanding of the underlying nuclear physics. The difficulties involved in producing and studying short-lived isotopes are particularly problematic for understanding stellar explosions. While new facilities and experimental techniques have recently spurred significant progress in our understanding of the light, proton-rich nuclei that are important for understanding novae, studies of heavier exotic nuclei that are crucial for understanding more energetic explosions and the origins of the heavy elements are still quite challenging. We briefly survey recent progress in experimental nuclear physics that is important for understanding explosive nucleosynthesis and outline some of the major outstanding questions and the prospects for future advances.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Journal of Physics: Conference Series
Blackmon, J. (2011). What do (and don't) we understand about explosive nucleosynthesis?. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 312 (SECTION 4) https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/312/4/042001