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How stars were born

Washington, Wed, 07 Jul 2010 ANI

Washington, July 7 (ANI): In a new study, researchers have explained how the stars-claimed to be the generators of elements that formed the universe-came into being in the first place.


New research from Columbia University sheds light on how hydrogen atoms came together to form hydrogen molecules and formed the stars.


Stars were behind the creation of hydrogen and helium in the first three minutes after the Big Bang.


These elements gave rise to all other elements in the universe.


Through nuclear fusion, stars generated elements such as carbon, oxygen, magnesium and all the other raw materials necessary for making planets and ultimately life.


"In order for us to follow the chain of events responsible for how we got here, we need to understand the beginning," said Daniel Wolf Savin, a senior research scientist in Columbia University's Astrophysics Laboratory.


"I'm excited to have worked on such a challenging interdisciplinary problem with an international cast of stars. To discern the importance of the reaction at the very beginning required a cosmologist who understood the physics of first star formation and a physicist who understood the underlying chemical reactions. Together, cosmologist Simon Glover of the University of Heidleberg and I were able to identify the key chemical reactions that needed to be better understood so that we could more reliably model the formation of the first stars," said Savin.


"Once we determined what needed to be studied, then the question became one of how. We assembled the necessary expertise and experimentalists to build a novel apparatus to measure the reaction. I did this work with colleagues Holger Kreckel Hjalmar Bruhns and Ken Miller from Columbia, and Xavier Urbain from the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. But measuring the reaction was not enough. We also needed to calculate it. Theoretical Physicist Martin Cizek from Charles University in Prague did just that," he added.


The study is published in the July 2nd edition of the journal Science. (ANI)


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