Academic Year 2022/2023 - Teacher: Stefano ROMANO

Expected Learning Outcomes


The course aims to provide students with a sufficiently broad picture of the combination and synergy of skills of two of the most fascinating fields of scientific research: Astrophysics and Nuclear Physics. After a discussion of peculiar aspects of the two research fields, experimental techniques and theoretical approaches, that have led to important results in Nuclear Astrophysics, will be presented.

The course also aims to enhance:


Knowledge and understanding.

Critical understanding of the most advanced experimental procedures and techniques in Nuclear Physics needed for applications in the stellar environments.

Remarkable expertise with the scientific method, understanding of nature, and of the research in Nuclear Astrophysics.

Applying knowledge and understanding

Ability to identify the essential elements of a phenomenon, also in terms of order of magnitude and level of approximation necessary, for applications in Astrophysics.

Ability to use analogy as a tool to apply known solutions to new problems (problem solving).

Ability to plan and apply experimental and theoretical procedures to new measurements, or to improve existing results.

Making judgements

Ability to convey own interpretations of physical phenomena, when discussing within a research team.

Communication skills.
Ability to discuss about advanced physical concepts, both in Italian and in English..

Learning skills.

Ability to acquire adequate tools for the continuous update of one's knowledge.

Ability to exploit databases and bibliographical and scientific resources to extract information and suggestions to better frame and develop one's study and research activity.

Ability to acquire, through individual study, knowledge in new scientific fields.

Course Structure

Lectures with application examples. Seminars of external experts.

Language: english

Required Prerequisites

Elements of stellar physics - stellar evolution - nuclear processes in stellar evolutions - elements of nuclear physics - nuclear models - nuclear reactions - energy balance - cross section - main characteristics of charged particle detectors

Detailed Course Content

1. Intruduction to the Nuclear Astrophysics

Primordial nucleosynthesis. Formation of stars. Physical basis of stellar evolution. State equation and energy production. Stellar equilibrium equations. Stellar evolution. Quiescent combustion. Explosive scenarios. Stellar nucleosynthesis: combustion of hydrogen, combustion of helium. Processes r and s

2. Thermonuclear reactions

Definitions: Cross section, reaction rate, mean life.

3. Reaction rates in stars

Non-resonant reactions induced by neutrons, non-resonant reactions induced by charged particles.

Resonant reactions

4. Measurements of cross sections at energies of astrophysical interest

Direct measurements, Limit of direct measurements. Electronic screening in the laboratory and in the stars

Indirect methods, Theoretical recalls: Direct-type reaction mechanisms. Indirect measures: ANC, Coulomb

dissociation, Trojan Horse Method, R-matrix, Inverse reactions

Reactions with radioactive beams.

5. Tecniques and experimental setups in Nuclear Astrophysics

Textbook Information

1-  Nuclear Physics of Stars, C.  Iliadis, Wiley

2-  Nuclear Astrophysics, C,Rolfs and W.S.Rodney- Cauldrons  in the Cosmos,

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1nuclear processes involved in stellar evolution: 10 hoursNuclear Physics of Stars, C. Iliadis, Wiley
2nuclear structure: 6 hoursIntroductory Nuclear Physics, K. S. Krane, Wiley & Sons. Inc.
3Q-value: 4 hoursIntroductory Nuclear Physics, K. S. Krane, Wiley & Sons. Inc.
4nuclear cross section: 6 hoursIntroductory Nuclear Physics, K. S. Krane, Wiley & Sons. Inc.
5reaction rate determination: 8 hoursNuclear Physics of Stars, C. Iliadis, Wiley
6indirect methods, the THM: 8 hours

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

The exam will be held with an oral interview on the contents of the course.

Criteria for evaluation: 1) relevance of the answers to the questions posed; 2) level of analysis of the contents presented; 3) ability to link with other topics covered by the program.

The exam can also be carried out online, should the conditions require it.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

1) relationship between astrophysical and nuclear aspects;

2) energy balance in nuclear reactions;

3) cross section;

4) reaction rate;

5) Gamow window;

6) applications.