Cauldrons in the Cosmos: Nuclear Astrophysics

Cauldrons in the Cosmos: Nuclear Astrophysics

by Claus E. Rolfs, William S. Rodney

ISBN-10: 0226724573

ISBN-13: 9780226724577

Pub. Date: 08/01/2005

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Nuclear astrophysics is, in essence, a science that attempts to understand and explain the physical universe beyond the Earth by studying its smallest particles. Cauldrons in the Cosmos, by Claus E. Rolfs and William S. Rodney, serves as a basic introduction to these endeavors. From the major discoveries in the field to a discussion of the makeup of stars to

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Nuclear astrophysics is, in essence, a science that attempts to understand and explain the physical universe beyond the Earth by studying its smallest particles. Cauldrons in the Cosmos, by Claus E. Rolfs and William S. Rodney, serves as a basic introduction to these endeavors. From the major discoveries in the field to a discussion of the makeup of stars to an explanation of standard lab techniques, this text provides students and scientists alike a thorough and fascinating survey of the accomplishments, goals, and methods of nuclear astrophysics. A classic in its field, Cauldrons in the Cosmos will surely remain an important reference in nuclear astrophysics for years to come.

"One could not wish for a better account of the current state of knowledge (and uncertainty) about nuclear reactions in stars."—B. E. J. Pagel, Nature

"Written in an informal style that those uninitiated into the jargon of nuclear astrophysics and astronomy will find readable and illuminating. . . . A useful and long-awaited introduction to nuclear astrophysics."—G. J. Mathews, Science

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Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
Theoretical Astrophysics Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 2.00(d)

Table of Contents

1Astronomy-Observing the Universe1
1.1Observational Techniques3
1.1.1Optical Astronomy3
1.1.2Radio Astronomy7
1.1.3Space Astronomy10
1.2Observed Structures in the Cosmos12
1.2.1The Solar System13
1.2.2Normal Stars and Clusters of Stars15
1.2.3Unusual Stars19 Stars19 Stars19 Stars22 Nebulae25 Stars27
1.2.4Our Galaxy-the Milky Way28
1.2.5Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies31
1.2.6Radio Galaxies and Quasars37
1.2.7The Universe41
1.3Selected General Properties of the Universe41
1.3.1Observed Abundances of the Elements41
1.3.2The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram45
1.3.3Mass-Luminosity Relation of Main-Sequence Stars46
1.3.4The Expansion of the Universe and Hubble's Law48
1.3.5The Universal Background Radiation51
1.3.6Quasars as Probes of the Distant Universe53
2Astrophysics-Explaining the Universe55
2.1Big-Bang Cosmology56
2.1.1Standard Cosmological Models56
2.1.2Basic Physics and Dynamics of the Standard Big-Bang Model58
2.1.3Evolution of the Early Universe63
2.1.4Versions of the Big-Bang Universe67
2.1.5The Beginning of the Standard Universe69
2.1.6Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry and the Origin of Baryons71
2.1.7The Inflationary Universe77
2.2Nucleosynthesis in the Early Universe85
2.2.1The Quest for Light-Element Creation85
2.2.2Ashes of the Primeval Big Bang86
2.2.3Implications of Primordial Nucleosynthesis89
2.3The Formation of Galaxies91
2.4Physical State of the Stellar Interior92
2.4.1Hydrostatic Equilibrium93
2.4.2Equation of State of Normal Stars94
2.4.3Effects of the Chemical Composition96
2.4.4Stored Energy of a Star97
2.4.5Thermal Equilibrium99
2.4.6Energy Transport Mechanisms100
2.4.7Magnitude of Stellar Luminosities102
2.4.8The Mass-Luminosity Relation and Stellar Lifetimes103
2.4.9Stellar Stability103
2.4.10Equation of State for Degenerate Matter104
2.4.11Theory of White Dwarfs107
2.4.12Neutron Stars108
2.4.13Black Holes110
2.5The Lives of the Stars112
2.5.1Birth of Stars in Interstellar Clouds113
2.5.2From Nebulae to the Main Sequence115
2.5.3Main-Sequence Stars116
2.5.4Endpoints of Stellar Evolution117
2.6The Origin of the Chemical Elements121
2.7Evolution of Binary Systems123
2.7.1Effects of Gravity on Stars in Contact123
2.7.2The Nova Phenomenon125
2.7.3X-Ray Stars127
2.7.4Supernovae of Type I130
3Definitions and General Characteristics of Thermonuclear Reactions133
3.1Source of Nuclear Energy134
3.2Cross Section137
3.3Stellar Reaction Rate139
3.4Mean Lifetime141
3.5Maxwell-Boltzmann Velocity Distribution142
3.6Inverse Reactions144
3.7Energy Production149
4Determination of Stellar Reaction Rates150
4.1Neutron-Induced Nonresonant Reactions150
4.2Charged-Particle-Induced Nonresonant Reactions153
4.3Reactions through Isolated and Narrow Resonances169
4.4Reactions through Broad Resonances178
4.5Subthreshold Resonances185
5Laboratory Equipment and Techniques in Nuclear Astrophysics190
5.1Ion Beams191
5.1.1Ion Sources and Beam Formation192 Ion Source192 Ion Source194 Ion Source195 Ion Source196 Ion Source197 Ion Source197 Ion Source198
5.1.2Accelerators200 de Graaff Accelerator201 Accelerator204 Accelerator206 Accelerator206
5.1.3Beam Transport System210
5.1.4Analysis of Beam Properties221
5.1.5Beam Integration226
5.2Target Features and Target Chambers231
5.2.1Solid Targets231
5.2.2Gas Targets242
5.3.1Detectors for Heavy Charged Particles253
5.3.2Neutron Detectors260
5.3.3Gamma-Ray Detectors261
5.4Detection Techniques270
5.4.1Electronics and Data Acquisition270
5.4.2Detection of Reaction Products271
5.4.3Activity Method284
5.4.4Time-of-Flight Techniques287
5.5Experimental Procedures and Data Reduction289
5.5.1Cross Section and Yield of Nuclear Reactions289
5.5.2Factors Affecting the Reaction Yield292
5.5.3Reaction Yield and Experimental Observation295
5.5.4Measurement of Excitation Functions296
5.5.5Measurement of Angular Distributions301
5.5.6Absolute Cross Section and Resonance Strength302
5.6Some Future Techniques310
5.6.1Detection of Recoil Nuclei in Capture Reactions310
5.6.2Accelerator Mass Spectrometry317
5.6.3Radioactive Ion Beams319
5.6.4Storage Rings324
6Hydrogen Burning327
6.1The Proton-Proton Chain328
6.1.1Theoretical Cross Section for the p + p Reaction328
6.1.2Burning of Deuterium338
6.1.3Burning of [superscript 3]He and Completion of the p-p-I Chain340
6.1.4Stellar Fates of [superscript 7]Be346
6.1.5The Three p-p Chains352
6.1.6Laboratory Approach to p-p Chain Reactions356 d(p, [gamma])[superscript 3] He Reaction356 [superscript 3]He([superscript 3]He, 2p)[superscript 4]He Reaction358 Capture Reaction [superscript 3]He([alpha], [gamma])[superscript 7]Be360 of the p-p Chains II and III362 Involving the Weak Force364
6.2The CNO Cycles365
6.2.1The CN Cycle367
6.2.2The CNO Bi-cycle369
6.2.3The Discovery of Additional Cycles371
6.2.4Consequences of the CNO Cycles374
6.3Other Cycles375
6.3.1The NeNa Cycle376
6.3.2The MgAl Cycle379
6.3.3Elemental Abundances381
7Helium Burning384
7.1The Detour around the Mass Stability Gaps, and the Creation of [superscript 12]C387
7.2The Survival of [superscript 12]C in Red Giants395
7.2.1Expected Properties of the [superscript 12]C([alpha], [gamma])[superscript 16]O Reaction395
7.2.2Measurements of the [superscript 12]C([alpha], [gamma])[superscript 16]O Reaction401
7.2.3Elemental Abundances404
7.3The Blocking of Quiescent Helium Burning406
7.4Other Helium-Burning Reactions408
7.5Perspectives on Helium-Burning Reactions410
8Advanced and Explosive Burning413
8.1Quiescent Heavy-Ion Burning414
8.1.1Absorption under the Barrier418
8.1.2Intermediate Structure in the Continuum421
8.1.3Gross Energy Dependence422
8.2Silicon Burning423
8.2.1The Photodisintegration Era424
8.2.2Photodisintegration in Silicon Burning428
8.2.3The Nuclear Physics of Silicon Burning431
8.3The Final Bursts of Nucleosynthesis in Massive Stars436
8.3.1The Inner Structure of a Presupernova Star436
8.3.2Theories of Supernovae of Type II439
8.3.3Explosive Nucleosynthesis445
8.3.4Nuclear Physics Aspects of Explosive Burning448
9Nucleosynthesis beyond Iron449
9.1The Quest for the Origin of the Trans-Iron Elements449
9.2Neutron-Capture Cross Sections451
9.3Basic Mechanisms for Nucleosynthesis beyond Iron457
9.4The s-Process461
9.5The r-Process469
9.6Nucleocosmochronology-the Age of the Chemical Elements477
10Miscellaneous Topics490
10.1The Case of the Missing Solar Neutrinos490
10.1.1The Quest490
10.1.2The Standard Solar Model491
10.1.3Detection of Solar Neutrinos493
10.1.4Suggested Solutions496
10.2Isotopic Anomalies and the Early History of the Solar System498
10.2.1The Homogeneous Isotopic Composition498
10.2.2The Discovery of Isotopic Anomalies501
10.2.3Oxygen Isotopic Anomalies502
10.2.4Magnesium and the Discovery of Extinct [superscript 26]Al504
10.2.5Neon and Extinct [superscript 22]Na506
10.3The Origin of the Light Elements Li, Be, and B508
10.3.1The Problem508
10.3.2Properties of Galactic Cosmic Rays510
10.3.3Production of Li, Be, and B via Spallation512
AppendixNotation and Units517

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