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Gordon Patston Memorial Lecture: "The Discerning Power of Chemical Abundances: Light and Heavy, Close and Far"

Friday 26 October 2012 - 8:00pm
The Discerning Power of Chemical Abundances: Light and Heavy, Close and Far
Speaker: Dr Francesca Primas, ESO
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: Since the advent of 8-10m class telescopes equipped with very efficient and high resolution spectrographs, very accurate stellar abundances have become available. In this presentation, I will review the remarkable observational progress achieved in the last decade, from the very light to the very heavy elements and how astronomers have been able to start looking at chemical fingerprints further away from the solar neighborhood.
The history of the chemical composition of the Galaxy is dominated by the nucleosynthesis occurring in many generations of stars. Very metal-poor stars represent one of the main diagnostic tools to probe the earliest phases of the (chemical) evolution of our Galaxy. Any variation in the elemental abundance ratios observed at different metallicities can then be compared with the yields derived from supernovae of different masses to determine which ones have contributed to the Galactic chemical enrichment and when. By comparing instead chemical signatures in Galactic and Local Group stars one can finally test how good of a standard template our Galaxy is.
Biography: Dr Francesca Primas comes from Gorizia in the north-east of Italy, she is currently an ESO astronomer and head of the User Support Department (VLT, Vista, VST Operations) She received her Masters degree in Physics from The University of Trieste (Italy) and her PhD at The University of Chicago and The University of Trieste on "Beryllium abundances in metal-poor stars" Francesca appointed to a Post-doctoral position at University of Chicago in 1996 and an ESO fellowship in 1997. She was appointed as an ESO Staff/Support Astronomer in 2000, specialising in high-resolution spectroscopy and related instruments. In 2006 Francesca was appointed to the role of Full Astronomer at ESO.

Event Date: 
Friday, 26 October, 2012 - 20:00
Epping Creative Centre, 26 Stanley Road, Epping NSW

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