One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A nucleosynthetic process believed to occur in stars in circumstances of high neutron flux (e.g. in supernova explosions), in which atomic nuclei heavier than iron are formed from lighter ones by a succession of rapid neutron captures and slower beta decays.
1950s; earliest use found in Fred Hoyle (1915–2001), astronomer. From the initial letter of rapid + process.
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