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Astrophysics with Radioactive Isotopes

  • Roland Diehl
Chapter
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 453)

Abstract

Radioactivity was discovered as a by-product of searching for elements with suitable chemical properties. The efforts to understand its characteristics led to the development of nuclear physics, understanding that unstable configurations of nucleons transform into stable end products through radioactive decay. In the universe, nuclear reactions create new nuclei under the energetic circumstances characterising cosmic nucleosynthesis sites, such as the cores of stars and supernova explosions. Observing the radioactive decays of unstable nuclei, which are by-products of such cosmic nucleosynthesis, is a special discipline of astronomy. Understanding these special cosmic sites, their environments, their dynamics, and their physical processes, is the research goal of the Astrophysics with Radioactivities that makes the subject of this book. We address the history, the candidate sites of nucleosynthesis, the different observational opportunities, and the tools of this field of astrophysics.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institut für extraterrestrische PhysikGarchingGermany

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