Dying Stars and Reborn Dust
I am happy to help honor the memory of J. Robert Oppenheimer at this occasion. I started my scientific career as a quantum field theorist and, on numerous pilgrimages to the Princeton Institute, I was inspired and helped by Oppie’s enthusiasm and insight. Although Oppenheimer is not so well known in astrophysical circles, he and his associates actually did much of the pioneering work on the gravitational collapse and structure of neutron stars long before any were discovered. Neutron stars lie at the heart of supernova remnants which I will discuss at the end of this report. My topic deals with one aspect of the symbiotic relationship between stars on the one hand and interstellar gas and dust on the other — the effect of dying stars (more specifically of planetary nebulae and of supernovae) on producing and replenishing dust-grains. I shall mainly review the current status but end with a speculative conjecture.
KeywordsNeutron Star Supernova Remnant Planetary Nebula Magnesium Silicate Interstellar Dust
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