The beginnings of precious metals like gold can be traced to the blink of an eye in an exploding star billions of years ago, and scientists at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at Michigan State University have been able to scrutinize a crucial step in that process.
By reproducing the processes inside supernovas in a laboratory, scientists have resurrected an isotope of nickel – one that no longer exists in nature, but is an important link in the birth of the elements. “Every gold atom you find in the gold on your ring, every one of those atoms has gone through such a process,” said Hendrik Schatz, an associate professor of physics at the NSCL. “We’ve now seen a link in the chain – one that controlled everything.”
Schatz will discuss these findings at the American Physical Society meeting in Tampa, Fla., Sunday.
Hendrik Schatz | EurekAlert!
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