Research Scientist, TRIUMF
Clues to the astrophysical formation of elements can be extracted from diverse sources such as our Sun, other stars, deep-sea ocean crusts, and meteorites. Recent years have also highlighted the power of combining “multi-messengers” such as light, gravitational waves, and neutrinos to unravel the inner workings of astrophysical events and thus the elements they synthesize. My research focuses on the production of the heaviest elements via neutron capture processes, specifically addressing the role of nuclear physics and neutrino physics. Since our ability to interpret observables is critically influenced by the nuclear properties of species both within and beyond experimental reach, my research serves to guide experimental programs such as those at radioactive beam facilities toward key measurements. To address the longstanding mystery of the astrophysical origins of the heavy elements, my research also considers the nucleosynthesis impact of elusive neutrino interactions which are boosted in explosive environments due to large numbers of emitted neutrinos along with high matter densities.