The rare earth peak and the astrophysical location of the $r$ process
M. Mumpower, G. C. McLaughlin, R. Surman, A. W. Steiner
The question of astrophysical site(s) for the rapid neutron capture or $r$ process of nucleosynthesis remains one of the most challenging open problems in all of physics. Neutron star mergers and core collapse supernovae are the leading candidates, but conclusions regarding both are limited by our knowledge of nuclear physics far from stability. Current and future radioactive beam facilities will aid in this endeavor by providing a plethora of new nuclear data information to be used in theoretical simulations. We present a new theoretical framework which, if used in combination with future measurements, will give strong clues to the astrophysical site of the $r$ process.