Reconstructing the Evolution of Stars

Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations
January 24, 2017 Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA

Robert Simcoe, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Robert Simcoe's website and 2016-2017 Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

The earliest stars were very different from subsequent stellar generations. It was the later generations that produced almost all of the chemical elements, among them, the elements that make life possible. Dr. Simcoe explains how the universe became transparent, how the first stars possibly formed and how subsequent generations evolved. We learn how today's sophisticated optical telescopes penetrate billions of light years to the early universe and how astronomers distinguish "early" from "recent" stars and galaxies. Bonus: we learn how to analyze the chemistry of the stars with spectroscopy!

Dr. Simcoe specializes in observational astrophysics, with particular emphasis on the chemistry of galaxies and intergalactic matter in the early universe. He and his colleagues have developed a number of optical tools that serve the most advanced astronomical investigations of the universe.

articles by Robert Simcoe for general readers