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SLAS Regular Meeting
July 18
7:30 pm

Stars and the Abundances of the Elements


Dr. Katharina Lodders of Washington University

The quest for the origins and abundances of chemical elements involves chemistry, physics, and astronomy. The Big Bang that started our universe produced only hydrogen, helium, and traces of lithium. All of the other elements - the carbon that forms the complex molecules of life, the oxygen that we breathe, the iron in our blood and buildings - were forged in the hearts or atmospheres of long-vanished stars. Today, the abundances of the elements in our own solar system are determined by analyzing sunlight and by examining ancient meteorites. Dr. Lodders will describe some of the history and recent advances of the search to understand the inventory of the elements that form the sun, its planets and their satellites, and the life forms that populate our own planet.

Dr. Katharina Lodders is a Research Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
and the McDonnell Center For the Space Sciences at Washington University in Saint Louis. She received her Doctorate from the Max Planck Institut fur Chemie in 1991. Her research interests center on the evolution of the solar system, particularly the processes that lead to the formation of the sun, the Earth, and the planets. In addition to over forty scientific publications, she co-authored The Planetary Scientist?s Companion, a highly regarded reference work for professional planetary geologists and astronomers.


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