Info and course material for the 2019 summer semester

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Nucleosynthesis: Course overview

Welcome to astro858, a course on nucleosynthesis!


The remnant of SN1987A; Image by HST Remnant of SN1987A imaged by HST

Lecture term: April 18 - July 11, 2019

Exercise classes: April 26 - July 13, 2019


The powerpoint presentations will be available in the table below. I will try my best to upload the slides at least two days before the Thursday lectures.

The lectures will follow the material provided in the:

These notes provide a brief and concise summary of the concepts covered in the following books:

We will also discuss some topics from:

Further reading

Evaluation and course requirements

The setup of this class is as follows: in the lectures, it is assumed that you worked through the corresponding chapter of the day beforehand (see schedule below). During the lecture, we will briefly cover the corresponding topic, and then discuss your questions.

You need to email your (non-trivial) questions before Tuesday 13:00 to the tutors so that they can be considered for the lectures. In your email, please include “NucSyn” in the subject, and mention at the beginning of your question the corresponding subsection of the lecture notes (or book page).

The final grade will be calculated as follows:

Your presence in the lectures, and in the excercise class, is also a requirement to earn the credit points for this class.

Paper presentations

Each student is expected to give a 15 min presentation (10’ + 5’ for questions) on a recent research paper on a topic in nucleosynthesis. Please e-mail your preference to janton [at] by May 24. A list of suggested papers is available here. Please check the library description to see if a paper has already been chosen. Note that you will need an active account to view the library. If you don’t already have an account, you can register here


Chapter / Lecture Lecture Date questions by Excercise class
1: Introduction April 18 -  
2: Thermonuclear reactions April 25 April 23 April 26
3: Big-bang nucleosynthesis May 2 April 30 May 3
4.1,.2: Thermonuclear reactions in stars - I (overview of stellar evolution and H-burning in low-mass stars) May 9 May 7 May 10
4.2,4.3: Thermonuclear reactions in stars - II (CNO, NeNa, MgAl and advanced burning) May 17 May 14 May 16
5: s-process May 23 May 21 May 24
Student presentations - 1 June 21 - -
Student presentations - 2 June 28 - -
5: r-process, explosive nucleosynthesis July 2 July 1 July 5
6: Thermonuclear supernovae July 5 July 2 July 5
7: Li, Be, B (*) July 11 July 9 July 12
8: Galactic chemical evolution   Canceled  

(*) Lecture by Prof. N. Langer


Nuclear data and reaction rates

Supernovae and transients