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Article
Nature 340, 281 - 284 (27 July 1989); doi:10.1038/340281a0

The anthropic significance of the existence of an excited state of 12C

M. Livio*, D. Hollowell, A. Weiss & J. W. Truran

*Department of Physics, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, 32000 Haifa, Israel
Department of Astronomy, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois 61801, USA
Max-Planck-lnstitut für Astrophysik, D-8046 Garching, FRG

Were it not for the presence of an excited state of 12C at 7.6 MeV, at the endpoint of the triple-alpha reaction, it would be difficult for stars to manufacture carbon and heavier elements. Calculations using modified triple-alpha rates test the sensitivity of stellar nucleosynthesis to the exact position of this excited state, and allow an empirical assessment of its importance in the anthropic principle in cosmology.

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