R-Process Nucleosynthesis and Short-Lived Radioactivities in the Early Solar System
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Clemson University
Roughly ten short-lived radioactivities (isotopes with lifetimes in the range of 0.1 to 100 million years) were alive in the early Solar System. An important goal of cosmochemistry is to reconcile the inferred abundances of these radioactivities with our knowledge of nucleosynthesis and Galactic chemical evolution. This talk will focus on those radioactivities predominantly formed in the rapid neutron-capture process (r process) and will address the implications of the recent LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) observation of a neutron star merger for solving the long-standing puzzle of the Solar System's abundance of iodine-129. It will also address some of the important nuclear physics aspects of r-process nucleosynthesis.