Skip to main content

Professor Stefan Ballmer, Duncan Brown quoted by Forbes

Duncan Brown and Stefan Ballmer

Duncan Brown and Stefan Ballmer

October 16, 2017

Professors Stefan Ballmer and Duncan Brown, who co-lead the Syracuse University Gravitational Wave Group along with Peter Saulson, were quoted in a Forbes article highlighting the recent discovery of neutron star collisions as the source for gold, platinum, and other heavy metals in the universe. While theorized by scientists for decades, this was recently proven when LIGO, Virgo, and a network of more traditional telescopes witnessed the inspiral and crash of a binary neutron star system, and the resulting expulsion and decay of neutron-rich material.

"When you watch that radioactive decay, what you’re basically watching is space alchemy. It’s the universe creating gold and platinum," said Brown.

"If you’re wondering how much the gold we saw being made is worth? About $10 octillion— $10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000—at today’s prices," said Ballmer.