Nuclear Astrophysics


The course is taught in English by
Gabriel Martinez-Pinedo, Tel. 06159 71 2750, g.martinez at, Schlossgartenstraße 2, room 304
Bastian Schütrumpf, Tel. 06159 71 1819, Schlossgartenstraße 2, room 04

It covers fundamental theoretical aspects of Nuclear Astrophysics.

Main topics include:

  1. Course description
  2. Introduction
  3. Primordial Nucleosynthesis
  4. Thermonuclear Reactions in Stars
  5. Stellar structure
  6. Hydrogen Burning
  7. The Sun
  8. Advanced Burning
    • Lecture 11: Hellium burning, Intermediate mass stars (Slides, Notes)
    • Lecture 12: Evolution massive stars (Slides)
  9. Supernova
    • Lecture 13: Nucleosynthesis in core-collapse supernovae (Slides)
    • Lecture 14: Explosion mechanism(s) of core-collapse supernova (Slides)
  10. Neutron stars
  11. Nucleosynthesis of Heavy Elements
    • Lecture 16: The r process (Slides)


  • Christian Iliadis: Nuclear Physics of Stars, Wiley-VCH Verlag, Weinheim, 2007
  • Bradley W. Carroll and Dale A. Ostlie: An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, Pearson/Addison-Wesley, San Francisco, 2nd ed. 2007
  • Claus E. Rolfs and William S. Rodney: Cauldrons in the Cosmos: Nuclear Astrophysics, Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, reprint 2005
  • Bernard E. J. Pagel: Nucleosynthesis and Chemical Evolution of Galaxies, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, reprint 2009
  • Donald D. Clayton: Principles of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis, Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, reprint 1983
  • Rudolf Kippenhahn, Alfred Weigert, Achim Weiss: Stellar Structure and Evolution, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 2012 (Accesible online from the TU Darmstadt network)
  • André Maeder: Physics, Formation and Evolution of Rotating Stars, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 2009 (Accesible online from the TU Darmstadt network)
  • Giora Shaviv: The Synthesis of the Elements: The Astrophysical Quest for Nucleosynthesis and What It Can Tell Us About the Universe, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 2012 (Accesible online from the TU Darmstadt network)
  • Edward Kolb and Michael Turner, The Early Universe, Westview Press, 1994
  • Steven Weinberg, Cosmology, Oxford University Press, 2008

An online introduction to basic astronomical concepts can be found at Astronomy Notes

We recomend to look regularly at the Astronomy Picture of the Day

Suggested readings for the presentations

The schedule for the presentations and examinations is available here
  1. M. Agostini, et al, Comprehensive measurement of pp-chain solar neutrinos Nature 562, 505 (2018).
    doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0624-y
  2. M. Beard, S. M. Austin, and R. Cyburt, Enhancement of the Triple Alpha Rate in a Hot Dense Medium, Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 112701 (2017).
    doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.112701
    arXiv:1708.07204 [nucl-th]
  3. M.-R. Wu, J. Barnes, G. Martínez-Pinedo, and B. D. Metzger, Fingerprints of heavy element nucleosynthesis in the late-time lightcurves of kilonovae , Phys. Rev. Lett., accepted (2019).
    arXiv:1808.10459v2 [astro-ph.HE]
  4. S. De, D. Finstad, J. M. Lattimer, D. A. Brown, E. Berger, and C. M. Biwer, Tidal Deformabilities and Radii of Neutron Stars from the Observation of GW170817 , Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 4 (2018).
    doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.091102
    arXiv:1804.08583v4 [astro-ph.HE]
  5. S. J. Prentice, et al, The Cow: Discovery of a Luminous, Hot, and Rapidly Evolving Transient,Astrophys. J. 865, L3 (2018).
    doi: 10.3847/2041-8213/aadd90
    arXiv:1807.05965v3 [astro-ph.HE]