Amiel Sternberg, Ph.D.Senior Research Scientist, Galaxy Formation, CCA, Flatiron Institute
Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
The chemical makeup of the universe has evolved over billions of years. The first atoms were mostly hydrogen with a bit of helium and traces of lithium and beryllium. Since then, processes such as nuclear fusion in stars and exploding supernovae have forged new elements and altered the composition of the cosmos.
In this lecture, Amiel Sternberg will present an overview of chemistry in the cosmos, from the formation of the first stars in the early universe to present-day galaxies and the stellar and planetary systems that they contain. The chemical composition of the interstellar medium in galaxies, including the Milky Way, plays an essential role in the thermal and dynamical evolution of gravitationally collapsing star-forming molecular clouds and the formation of protoplanetary disks and systems. A rich interstellar inventory, from simple diatomic molecules to an array of multi-atom organic species, traces the growth of complexity in the universe, including the habitable zones required for the emergence of life.