© 2015 Cardiff Scientific Society


When the Universe was 300,000 years old, the only chemical elements with significant abundance were hydrogen, helium and a small amount of lithium. All the atoms of all the other elements in the Periodic Table have been synthesised during the 13.7 billion years since that time. Research in physics and astronomy over the last 64 years has allowed us to identify the nuclear processes involved, including the importance of the humble neutron in the manufacture of the heavier elements. We now have a good picture of the astronomical sites where elements such as the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and iron in our bodies were made, including violent supernova explosions. It is a picture that appears almost, but not quite, complete.

21 March 2012 Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre of the Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales.

Phoenix from the Ashes: the Origin of the Chemical  Elements

Professor Mike Edmunds MA PhD FRAS FInstP

 Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics,
School of Physics & Astronomy, Cardiff University