COSAM News Articles 2023 April Watch a theatrical performance of the founder of nuclear fission and then hear from one of the world’s foremost leaders in astronomy in this year’s Duncan Memorial Lecture
Watch a theatrical performance of the founder of nuclear fission and then hear from one of the world’s foremost leaders in astronomy in this year’s Duncan Memorial Lecture
This year’s Duncan Memorial Lecture offers an exciting evening celebrating both the arts and sciences in one event. Anna Frebel, professor of physics and head of astrophysics at the MIT Kavil Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, will give a theatrical performance as nuclear physicist Lise Meitner and then return to herself and speak on the topic of Understanding the origins of the elements on Thursday, April 13 at 4:45 p.m. in the Sciences Center Auditorium.
Meitner is most famously known for discovering “nuclear fission” or the process of splitting uranium atoms to produce energy. The basis for nuclear reactors, changed the world and impacted numerous areas such as medicine, politics, environmental emissions and the course of history as we know it.
Her story is a reminder that the scientific community must continue to work towards greater diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure that all scientists are given the recognition they deserve.
After her performance of the legendary historical figure, Frebel will discuss how the Frebel Research Group searches for the oldest stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. She will share how silver and gold can be found throughout the universe through collisions of neutron stars as the origin of heavy elements.
"For centuries, scientists have sought to understand the origin of chemical elements,” said Frebel. “The answer lies in the interplay of nuclear processes within stars and their explosive deaths. Physicists and astronomers continue to unravel the secrets of this 'star stuff' to deepen our understanding of our cosmic origins."
Frebel leads the astrophysics division at MIT. She has won an array of awards and accolades including the 2010 Annie Jump Cannon Award and a 2013 National Science Foundation CAREER Award. In addition, she has been recognized as a Fellow of the American Physical Society and an external member of the Goettingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
The Duncan Memorial Lecture is a free astronomy talk hosted by the Department of Physics at Auburn University for the entire Auburn and Opelika community.
It was established in 2012 by Dora Duncan '48 in chemistry, to commemorate her husband Dr. M.M. "Dunc" Duncan, Jr. '49, a physics alumnus. An active amateur astronomer, it is with respect to his enduring interest in the field, combined with his penchant for exploration, discovery and knowledge of astronomy and astrophysics, that this lecture is dedicated.
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