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Welcome to the BRIDGCE UK Network

BRIDGCE [pronounced bridge-C-E] UK Network is a UK-wide network established to BRIdge the Disciplines related to the Galactic Chemical Evolution. The goal of this network is to facilitate collaborations across the different disciplines involved in the study of the origin of the elements.


Why was BRIDGCE UK network set-up?

In order to answer questions like: "Where were the elements we are made of created? How different were the first stars compared to nearby stars?Which nuclear reaction rates affect stellar model predictions and thus need to be (re-)measured and with which precision? How efficiently are chemical elements mixed in the interstellar medium? What are the building blocks of our galaxy?", knowledge in various disciplines of astrophysics and nuclear physics is necessary. Indeed, nuclear data (nuclear reaction rates in particular) are a key input for stellar evolution models since nuclear reactions provide the energy that powers stars, thus they determine their lifetimes, and the composition of their final ejecta. Stars, in turn, provide crucial radiative, kinetic, and chemical feedback into the galaxies they belong to through the light they shine, their strong winds and powerful supernova explosions and the multitudes of chemical elements they produce. Stellar evolution model outputs, in turn, therefore are key ingredients for galactic chemical models of galaxies. These models follow successive episodes of star formation and trace the history of the enrichment of chemical elements in various galaxies. The model predictions can then be compared to observations of stars that carry the chemical fingerprints of the cumulative chemical enrichment that preceded their birth. Comparison to observations can thus constrain both the galactic and stellar evolution models and tell us what aspects of the models need to be improved. Stellar evolution models can also be used as virtual nuclear physics laboratories in which we can test the impact of uncertainties in certain nuclear reaction rates.

Despite the fact that there are many experts in the UK trying to answer these questions (see flowchart above) research and collaboration across different disciplines of physics is difficult because of the separate funding agencies and the lack of efficient knowledge transfer mechanisms between different disciplines (in particular between nuclear and astrophysics). The BRIDGCE UK network was set-up to remedy this important problem.


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The main goals of BRIDGCE are the following:

  • Facilitate transfer of knowledge and collaborations related to the origin of the elements across the various disciplines and institutions in the UK.
  • Liaise with other national and international networks (e.g. JINA) who share the same goals.
  • Develop synergy between the various expertise available in the UK.
  • Enhance PhD students training in this multi-disciplinary research area.


The BRIDGCE UK Network as of May 2017 has more than 30 members scattered across 15 institutes.

A steering committee oversees activities in the various disciplines involved and is the main point of contact for new or non-members:

  • Raphael Hirschi (Keele) for stellar astrophysics (chair)
  • Chiaki Kobayashi (Hertfordshire) for galactic chemical evolution
  • Alison Laird (York) for nuclear physics
  • Marco Pignatari (Hull) for nucleosynthesis
  • Clare Worley (IoA Cambridge) for observations


The full list of members (in alphabetic order) is the following:

  • Armagh Observatory: Jorick Vink
  • University of Belfast: Stuart Sim, Stephen Smartt
  • University of Birmingham: Martin Freer, Tzany Kokalova
  • University of Cambridge: Anna Hourihane, Robert Izzard, Christopher Tout, Clare Worley
  • University College London: Daisuke Kawata
  • University of Edinburgh: Marialuisa Aliotta, Claudia Lederer-Woods, Alexander Murphy, Phil Woods
  • University of Hertfordshire: Chiaki Kobayashi, Thomas Rauscher, Sean Ryan
  • University of Hull: Brad Gibson, Marco Pignatari, Gareth Few
  • Keele University: Raphael Hirschi, Andrea Cristini, Jacqueline den Hartogh, Laura Scott
  • Liverpool John Moores University: Andreea Font, Maurizio Salaris, Ricardo Schiavon
  • University of Manchester: Torsten Henkel, Ian Lyon, Albert Zijlstra
  • Newcastle University: Philipp Edelmann
  • University of Oxford: Waheed Akram (Dept. Earth Sciences)
  • University of Portsmouth: Claudia Maraston, Daniel Thomas
  • University of Surrey: Gavin Lotay, Zsolt Podolyak
  • University of York: Christian Diget, Brian Fulton, Alison Laird