By studying isotopes scientists hope to gain insight into how elements within exploding stars came to be
From carbon to uranium, oxygen to iron, chemical elements are the building blocks of the world around us and the wider universe. Now, physicists are hoping to gain an unprecedented glimpse into their origins, with the opening of a new facility that will create thousands of peculiar and unstable versions of atoms never before recorded on Earth.
By studying these versions, known as isotopes, they hope to gain new insights into the reactions that created the elements within exploding stars, as well as testing theories about the “strong force” – one of the four fundamental forces in nature, which binds protons and neutrons together in an atom’s nucleus. The facility could also yield new isotopes for medical use.