The primordial Universe consisted almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Once stars began to form, these light elements were fused to synthesise metallic elements such as carbon, oxygen, silicon and iron.
When these stars exploded as supernovae, these metals were injected back into the interstellar medium, eventually finding their way into the next generation of stars. This cycle of star formation and death provided the Universe with the elements necessary for the creation of interstellar dust, ice, organic molecules, and eventually planets and life.
In this talk I will summarise how the different elements were formed, and how by measuring the abundances of different elements we can study the ‘fossil record’ of a galaxy’s star-forming history. I will explain how these measurements are made, what the observational challenges are, and the prospects for the next generation of telescopes.
Talks start at 18.30 with sandwiches and refreshments available from 18.00. All are welcome and all our talks are free to attend.