News | Published:

Atomic Synthesis and Stellar Energy

Nature volume 128, pages 194196 (01 August 1931) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

SOME time ago F. G. Houtermans and the present writer investigated the possibility of synthesis of elements, in stellar interiors, by the wave mechanics process of penetration of nuclei by protons.1 The theory was not strictly correct, and various modifications have been proposed since, of which the theory of Wilson2 is perhaps the most important; all theories, however, lead to a probability of proton penetration having the same exponential dependence on both the temperature, T, and the atomic number, Z. The importance of this factor far outweighs that of the multiplicative forefactor which alone is different in the different theories, and it seems therefore desirable to discuss somewhat more fully the consequences of the assumption that any of these theories will give the right order of magnitude for the temperature at which synthesis will occur in large amounts. The effect of the exponential is roughly to make the synthesis probability vary as T20, or some comparable power, and thus even a change of 1000 in the fore-factor does not seriously affect T. The investigation is being discussed fully in the Astrophysical Journal, but in view of the interest of the subject at present, and also of the comparative unfamiliarity of the line of attack, a short summary may both appeal to a wider audience and prepare the way for the more detailed treatment.

References

  1. 1.

    Zeits. f. Physik, 54, 656; 1929.

  2. 2.

    Mon. Not. R.A.S., 91, 283; 1931.

  3. 3.

    Proc. Roy. Soc., 126, 632; 1930.

  4. 4.

    Cf. and , Nature, May 2, p. 661, 1931.

  5. 5.

    , Astr. Jour., 72, 11; 1929.

  6. 6.

    Nature, 123, 607; 1929.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Rutgers University.

    • R. D'E. ATKINSON

Authors

  1. Search for R. D'E. ATKINSON in:

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/128194b0

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing