chemicals cook up
In this section, how elements are formed through a process called nuclear fusion, in which atomic nuclei come together to form a heavier nucleus and release energy inside the cores of stars, where temperatures and pressures are extremely high.
We will learn how in the early universe, only hydrogen and helium were present. These elements were formed during the Big Bang and through the process of nucleosynthesis that occurred in the first stars.
As these first generations of stars evolved and eventually died, they released their heavier elements into the surrounding space through supernovae explosions. These explosions were so energetic that they fused light elements together, creating heavier elements such as carbon, oxygen, and so on.
Through this process, stars can create elements up to iron. Heavier elements are made through a different process called neutron capture, where a nucleus captures a neutron, which in turn can become a proton and form a new element. This process happens in the later stage of stars, during supernovae explosions, where the intense pressure and high density of neutrons allows the neutron capture to happen.