This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (November 2017)
|Isotope mass||8.00530510(4) u|
|Decay mode||Decay energy (MeV)|
|Complete table of nuclides|
In stellar nucleosynthesis, two helium-4 nuclei may collide and fuse into a single beryllium-8 nucleus. Beryllium-8 has an extremely short half-life (6.7(17)×10−17 seconds), and decays back into two helium-4 nuclei. If the beryllium-8 collides with a helium-4 nucleus before decaying, they can fuse into a carbon-12 nuclei. This is called the triple-alpha process, or "helium burning".
George Gamow, in his Big Bang theory, predicted that 8Be decays too fast to sustain nuclear fusion. This would mean that only hydrogen, helium, and lithium would be produced and not the elements which have a higher mass. Fred Hoyle subsequently theorized the Triple-alpha process which would allow higher elements to be created in stars.