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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, 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.

The BRIDGCE consortium has been funded by the STFC since 2015 and have organized parallel sessions at the National Astronomy Meeting, as well as annual network meetings (see Events).

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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 and ChETEC) 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 Sep 2023 has more than 75 members scattered across 20 institutes.

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

    • Clare Worley (IoA Cambridge) for observations
    • Raphael Hirschi (Keele) for stellar astrophysics
    • Alison Laird (York) for nuclear physics
    • Stuart Sim (Belfast) for supernovae/transients


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

    • Armagh Observatory: Erin Higgins, Jorick Vink
    • Queen's University Belfast: Stuart Sim
    • University of Birmingham: Martin Freer, Tzany Kokalova-Wheldon
    • University of Bristol: Richard Stancliffe
    • University of Cambridge: Anna Hourihane, Christopher Tout
    • Cardiff University: Janet Bowey, Mike Edmunds, Mikako Matsuura, Freeke van de Voort
    • University College London: Daisuke Kawata
    • University of Edinburgh: Marialuisa Aliotta, Carlo Bruno, Claudia Lederer-Woods, Alexander Murphy, Phil Woods
    • University of Hertfordshire: Emma Curtis-Lake, Chiaki Kobayashi, Thomas Rauscher, Sean Ryan, Benjamin Wehmeyer, Rob Yates
    • University of Hull: Umberto Battino
    • Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge: Mirko Curti, Roberto Maiolino
    • Keele University: Brad Gibson, Raphael Hirschi, Laura Scott, Etienne Kaiser, Federico Rizzuti
    • Liverpool John Moores University: Andreea Font, Maurizio Salaris, Ricardo Schiavon
    • University of Manchester: Ian Lyon, Albert Zijlstra
    • Newcastle University: Dominic Bowman
    • University of Oxford: Alex Cameron, Stephen Smartt
    • University of Portsmouth: Claudia Maraston, Daniel Thomas
    • University of Surrey: Payel Das, Robert Izzard, Gavin Lotay, Zsolt Podolyak
    • University of York: Soham Chakrabortty, Christian Diget, Brian Fulton, Alison Laird
    • University of Warwick: Elizabeth Stanway



    • Gabriele Cescutti (2015-16), now a faculty at University of Trieste, Italy
    • Fiorenzo Vincenzo (2017-19), now CCAPP Fellow at Ohio State University, USA
    • Andreas Sander (2018-20), now Emmy Noether Research Group Leader, Heidelberg, Germany