Stellar Evolution and Nucleogenesis (1957)

10.15.09 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

A 1957 scientific paper on astrophysics by the late Alistair G.W. Cameron has the unusual quality of being both historically significant and very hard to obtain.  A scanned copy of the paper has recently been posted online.  Known to specialists as CRL-41 (for Chalk River Laboratory paper number 41), the proper title is “Stellar Evolution, Nuclear Astrophysics and Nucleogenesis” (large pdf).

The paper is a milestone in the field of nuclear astrophysics, explained Daid Kahl, a Ph.D. student at the University of Tokyo.  “This work independently arrived at the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis in the same year as a much more widely cited paper by Burbidge, Burbidge, Fowler, and Hoyle.”

While it is still cited with some frequency (including a 2007 reference in Science magazine), hardly anybody seems to have a copy.  Only around 30 libraries around the world are known to possess the document, Mr. Kahl said, based on a WorldCat search.

“Many people know about the publication, but people also cite it without ever having seen or read it,” he said.  “There was a large conference two years ago at CalTech commemorating 50 years since these works were published.  Even at this conference, older professors were asking if anyone had a copy of CRL-41.”

Now, with the expiration of the copyright on the document 50 years after publication, it has become possible to scan and post the document for anyone who may be interested.  Thanks to Mr. Kahl for sharing his copy.