Nuclear Astrophysics

Nuclear astrophysics is at the intersection of astrophysics and nuclear physics. It concerns the study of the origin of the chemical elements in stars and supernovae, explosive events such as supernovae, classical novae, and X-ray bursts, and the properties of matter at high densities as found in the interiors of neutron stars. Nuclear astrophysics research at McGill is focused on developing connections between nuclear properties and astrophysical observations through the study of neutron stars, in particular by modelling the transient behavior of accreting neutron stars on timescales of seconds to years. This requires knowing the properties of nuclei across the mass table, from the most proton rich radioactive nuclei to the most neutron rich. Thermonuclear flashes from unstable hydrogen and helium burning on the surface of an accreting neutron star involve the rp-process, a rapid proton capture process that produces heavy nuclei near the proton drip line. Deeper inside the neutron star crust, nuclei at and beyond neutron drip are present, and determine the transport properties of the crust that can be probed with observations of crust cooling on timescales of months to years. McGill is an Associate Member of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics - Centre for Evolution of the Elements (JINA/CEE).

Faculty Members

Cumming, Andrew

Associate Professor of Physics
Office: ERP 310

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