2021 Calendar of Women who made Nuclear Astrophysics

Where do the chemical elements from carbon and oxygen, to iron and lead that make up our world and ourselves come from?

Cover of 2021 Calendar of Women who made Nuclear Astrophysics
Image: ChETEC

As William Fowler put it, when receiving the Nobel prize in 1983, “All of us are truly and literally a little bit of stardust”. This is because much of what we are made of was produced inside stars where high temperatures and densities cause the nuclear fusion reactions that produce heavier and heavier elements.

The quest for the origin of the chemical elements involves theoretical and experimental nuclear physics, observational astronomy, astrophysical modelling, and cosmological theory because it combines expertise on both the nuclear reactions themselves and the astrophysical sites where these reactions happen. This is called Nuclear Astrophysics.

Women scientists have been an essential part of the development of Nuclear Astrophysics, having made tremendous contributions in the form of astronomical observations, visual and spectroscopic identifications, star classifications and catalogues, prediction and discovery of stellar objects, design and construction of instrumentation, theoretical and experimental discoveries of nuclear materials, physical explanations, mathematical derivations, and chemical interpretations of all things – galactic and beyond.

To celebrate these achievements throughout the next year 2021, twelve outstanding women who helped to develop Nuclear Astrophysics are remembered in calendar format. Christine Hampton, who designed the calendar, explains: “With this calendar we want to present role models to encourage young people to choose Nuclear Astrophysics as their career path and to educate everyone about the significant impact women have made and continue to make in the development of Nuclear Astrophysics.”

“Via an outstanding team effort promoted by the COST ChETEC Action we have translated the calendar into 24 different languages” Maria Lugaro, the project coordinator adds: “In this way people from many different countries can enjoy it.”

The main sponsors of the project are the COST ChETEC Action (CA16117, chetec.eu, Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos), the Join Institute for Astrophysicics (JINA-CEE) in the USA, and the IReNA International Network for Nuclear Astrophysics.

Download and print your language version via the link below.


  • Nuclear Physics


Prof. Dr. Friedrich-Karl Thielemann
University of Basel
Department of Physics
Klingelbergstrasse 82
4056 Basel

+41 61 207 37 48