The Sci-Files – 5/5/2019 – Sara Ayoub – Separator for Capture Reactions (SECAR)

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Sara Ayoub about her research and involvement with the construction of the Separator for Capture Reactions (SECAR). Sara is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and works the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL).

Specifically, Sara is an experimental physicist interested in how stars evolve and how heavy stars explode and die. We are made of stardust that was once formed inside a star through a series of nuclear fusion reactions. Some heavy elements, Calcium for example, are formed during explosions such as novae. Even heavier elements such as Nickel and Gold are made in X-ray bursts, which are an explosion that occurs when a neutron star takes enough gas from another nearby star. Sara is working on testing a new device at the cyclotron lab at MSU that will precisely measure nuclear reactions rates that power these fascinating explosions. The goal is to be able to understand how these reactions work, so we can explain the observations astronomers make.

If you’re interested in talking about your MSU research on the radio or nominating a student, please email Chelsie and Danny at [email protected]. You can ask questions about future episodes here. Check The Sci-Files out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube!