Nuclear Engineering 24, Section 4

The Origins of the Elements on Earth and in the Heavens (1 unit, P/NP)

Professor Lee Bernstein
Friday 12:00-1:00, 134 Dwinelle Hall, Class number: 28906

The elements in our bodies, the planet we live on and the phones that we carry in our pockets all have their origins in stellar cores, supernovae and colliding neutron stars. In addition to naturally occurring elements, there are synthetic elements used to generate power, fuel space exploration, treat and diagnose illness and build some of the most dangerous weapons ever created. Many of these applications were pioneered in Berkeley (which is one of three cities in the world that has an element named after the country, state and city in which it's located!).

In this seminar, we will explore how the elements are formed and how they are used by society to generate energy, treat disease and form the basis for our nuclear deterrent. Researchers working in nuclear science and engineering throughout the Bay Area and beyond will visit and interact with students. Students will choose an element to study and then prepare a short report and presentation. No mathematics beyond basic algebra is required.

Instructor Bio

Dr. Bernstein is a professor in the UC Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering where he teaches the upper-level nuclear physics course (NE101/210M) and has developed two courses on nuclear physics in high energy density plasmas (290J) and applied nuclear science related to non-proliferation (290A). He has supervised more than 30 post-doctoral researchers and graduate students and published more than 170 articles.

Dr. Bernstein earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from Rutgers University in 1994 and spent the next 22 years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as a staff scientist studying a wide array of topics including high-spin nuclear structure; neutron cross section measurements; understanding the properties of hot nuclear matter and the development of the surrogate ratio method. He helped develop the nuclear science and diagnostics program at the National Ignition Facility (NIF)[10] serving as both the deputy and group leader.

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