The origin of the elements and other implications of gravitational wave detection for nuclear physics: https://arxiv.org/abs/2011.08645
The neutron-star collision revealed by the event GW170817 gave us a first glimpse of a possible birthplace of most of our heavy elements. The multi-messenger nature of this historical event combined gravitational waves, a gamma-ray burst and optical astronomy of a ``kilonova'', bringing the first observations of rapid neutron capture (r process) nucleosynthesis after 60 years of speculation. Modeling the r process requires a prodigious amount of nuclear-physics ingredients: practically all the quantum state and interaction properties of virtually all neutron-rich nuclides, many of which may never be produced in the laboratory! Another essential contribution of nuclear physics to neutron stars (and their eventual coalescence) is the equation of state (EoS) that defines their structure and composition. The EoS, combined with the knowledge of nuclear binding energies, determines the elemental profile of the outer crust of a neutron star and the relationship between its radius and mass. In addition, the EoS determines the form of the gravitational wave signal. This article combines a tutorial presentation and bibliography with recent results that link nuclear mass spectrometry to gravitational waves via neutron stars.
Comments: Invited tutorial/review paper for a Special Issue of 4Open-Sciences (EDP) on "Gravitational waves and the advent of multi-messenger astronomy," following a minisymposium bearing the same title, held during the 2019 National Conference of the SFP (Société Française de Physique) in Nantes, France (14 pages, 3 figures)