Neutron rich matter in the laboratory and in the heavens after GW170817

C. J. Horowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The historic observations of the neutron star merger GW170817 advanced our understanding of r-process nucleosynthesis and the equation of state (EOS) of neutron rich matter. Simple neutrino physics suggests that supernovae are not the site of the main r-process. Instead, the very red color of the kilonova associated with GW170817 shows that neutron star (NS) mergers are an important r-process site. We now need to measure the masses and beta decay half-lives of very neutron rich heavy nuclei so that we can more accurately predict the abundances of heavy elements that are produced. This can be done with new radioactive beam accelerators such as the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). GW170817 provided information on the deformability of NS and the equation of state of dense matter. The PREX II experiment will measure the neutron skin of 208Pb and help constrain the low density EOS. As the sensitivity of gravitational wave detectors improve, we expect to observe many more events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167992
JournalAnnals of Physics
StatePublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


This work is supported in part by DOE grants DE-FG02-87ER40365 and DE-SC0018083 .

FundersFunder number
U.S. Department of EnergyDE-SC0018083, DE-FG02-87ER40365


    • Dense matter
    • Gravitational waves
    • Neutron stars


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