Kilonova: An Electromagnetic Signal of Heavy Element Nucleosynthesis

Kilonova: An Electromagnetic Signal of Heavy Element Nucleosynthesis


  • Gabriel Martínez-Pinedo, GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung and Institut fur Kernphysik, Technische Universitat, Darmstadt, Germany
March 16, 2018 - 11:00am to 12:00pm


On August 17, 2017, the LIGO/VIRGO collaborations detected the gravitational signal GW170817 originating from a merger of two neutron stars. Shortly after, an electromagnetic signal with an intrinsic brightness corresponding to a thousand novas was detected by several telescopes worldwide and lasted for about a week. This kilonova signal had been predicted by theory long before and originates from the radioactive decay of freshly synthesized radioactive heavy nuclei produced by the r process. Hence, it answers one of the long lasting questions in nuclear astrophysics related to the astrophysical site of the r process. In this talk, I will summarize our current understanding of the r process, the answers provided by the recent observations, and the remaining open questions.

Additional Information 

Refreshments will be served at 10:40.

Sponsoring Organization 

Physics Division


  • Joint Institute for Nuclear Physics and Applications
  • Building: 6008
  • Room: Large Conference Room (133)

Contact Information