Physics & Astronomy Seminar: “A Tale of 11 Metallicities: The Astronomer’s Lament”
Dr. Jillian M. Scudder '09, Assistant Professor, Oberlin College & Conservatory will present on "A tale of 11 metallicities: the astronomer's lament."
Much to the dismay of chemists and materials physicists, the astronomer’s definition of a metal is any element heavier than helium. This definition does make a distinction between those elements that came baked in by the Universe, and those elements which are only produced in stars (these latter are our metals). The metal content of a galaxy can tell us quite a lot about its inner workings; the simplest case is that higher the metallicity, the more generations of stars have existed and exploded there. However, attempts to measure this number have resulted in a wide variety of estimations, none of which agree with each other. In this talk I will explore some of the difficulties in comparing different estimations of metallicity, and why we should bother spending so much time and energy doing so.
Students will have time after the presentation to chat with Dr. Scudder and share some snacks (until 5:30).