Atoms from deep space found on Earth! Where are they coming from?

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ANU Physics Studio

Building 38A

Acton, ACT 2601


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Let's learn about our search for elements from outer space, and how we find them with Dr Michaela Froehlich from ANU.

About this event

Everything on Earth is made of atoms, most of the atoms have been around since the Earth was formed, but some are man-made.

One type of atom is Plutonium, which does not exist naturally on Earth. However, about 80 years ago, people produced Plutonium in nuclear explosions, and a tiny amount of it was spread around the world during the last century.

We have found some plutonium deep down in the ocean that was not man-made, but instead came from outer space – but how do we know this?

Join us, as we discuss our search for Plutonium from out of this world, how much are we have been able to find, and how we know where it is coming from.

Suitable ages: 6 -12+.

But if you're older and interested, join anyway!

Timezone: Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne [AEST]

		Atoms from deep space found on Earth! Where are they coming from? image

About Michaela

Dr Michaela Froehlich is a passionate chemist at the Research School of Physics at the Australian National University.

Originally from Austria, she obtained a PhD in chemistry from the University of Vienna in 2011, and now relishes working in multidisciplinary fields such as environmental chemistry, nuclear physics and astrophysics.

Her main research focuses on actinides in the environment and their applications through the use of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry; a single atom counting technique.

More recently, she is working on characterising and quantifying radio-impurities in detector materials, which will be used in an attempt to find and measure Dark Matter.


For ACT Residents

  • A small number of ACT residents will be able to join us in-person
  • The venue will be ANU Physics Link Studio
  • Participation in this session will be first-come best-dressed
  • Please register a ticket for every person attending
  • Multiple children from one family can attend
  • Each student must have a registered ticket
  • Parents must register a ticket for themselves also
  • We will be observing COVID-safe protocols
  • We encourage you to bring your own hand sanitisers etc.
  • We encourage you to follow the ACT government and ANU guidelines on masks
  • Register using the ''In-Person: ACT'' ticket on Eventbrite

For People Outside Australian Capital Territory

  • Going to space needs thousands of people to run things globally
  • You can join us via Zoom Live at the same time as ACT residents
  • Register using the ''Online'' ticket on Eventbrite

More details to follow in the upcoming weeks via email.

Closing Date

Registrations will close on Fri, 25 June, 5:30 pm.

Zoom Details

Zoom details will be shared on Fri, 25 June, 6 pm.

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ANU Physics Studio

Building 38A

Acton, ACT 2601


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Organiser The Young Stars Program

Organiser of Atoms from deep space found on Earth! Where are they coming from?

Young Stars is a STEM outreach program run in affiliation with the Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Our sessions involve interactive seminars on topics ranging from 'how to almost reach the speed of light' to 'how to build rockets' to 'The Universe: From Begining to End'

We normally run fortnightly science talks at Physics Studio, Building 38a ANU Campus in Acton on Saturdays, between 1 pm - 2:30 pm.

Since COVID restricritions kicked in, we have gone online via Zoom and Facebook live temporarily till it is safe to hold large gatherings in person again.

The program is run with ongoing support from the Australian MENSA, SciScouts, and McNamara-Saunders Astronomical Teaching Telescope (MSATT).

Although the content we cover is typically aimed at students aged 6+, we love having younger and older students who are keen to join us also.

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