How did elements heavier than iron form? Elements like silver, gold, platinum, lead, and the many others from the bottom half of the periodic table are created when many, many neutrons are suddenly added to iron and other atoms. Two main processes describe this heavy element formation which occurs in red giant stars and neutron star mergers.
Associated Book Chapter from Searching for the Oldest Stars: Ancient Relics from the Early Universe
- Chapter 5: Neutron-Capture Processes and the Heaviest Elements