Precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and rhodium are expensive because they’re rare in Earth’s crust. But are they rare in the universe? Why is it so hard to make some of the chemical elements? Where do heavy metals come from, anyway? Turns out, we can blame it all on neutron stars and some oddities of the periodic table.
Thank you to the following for helpful discussions:
Dr. Jennifer Johnson – Ohio State University
Dr. Hendrik Schatz – JINA Center for the Evolution of the Elements