Researchers at Joint Institute of Nuclear Astrophysics Center for Evolution of Elements, part of Michigan State University are trying to find origin of heavy metals like gold, platinum, plutonium and uranium. They are concentrating their research on surface of some of the oldest stars of the universe to see if they can find traces of these metals on their surface. Lead author of the study Benoit Cote says that to understand the base for creation of elements one needs to know how many stars were formed during Big Bang.
The study is based on theory and revelation made in 2017 that heavy elements were made due to merger of neutron stars or collapsed base of giant stars as now researchers are wondering if merger of neutron stars are the only source of creation for metals like gold and platinum. An earlier study by this same research group and concluded that neutron stars are not the only source of heavy elements. Their studies had shown that merger of stars were not the only reason for creation of precious metals and nuclear reactions create atomic nuclei that lead to creation of heavy elements.
Besides creating simulations the team within the new study group focused on old stars and measured their chemical composition to find traces of heavy metals like gold and platinum and others that formed early part of the universe to find out how these heavy metals evolved over a period of time. Cote affirmed that the team is working on different parts of the universe as a study link known as galactic archaeology. The study was conducted as a joint collaboration between Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics Center for Evolution of Elements and the Hungary based Konkoly Observatory. The team’s research details will be presented at Canadian Astronomical Society meeting which is being held at Montreal this week.