Evidence of nucleosynthesis in other stars has been discovered in S-Type stars by Merrill (1952).
Population II stars are poor in metals whereas Population I are 2 orders of magnitude richer.
Stellar nucleosynthesis provides clues not only to stellar evolution but also to space-time distribution of matter in the universe.
A probe to nucleosynthesis in our Galaxy is given by the chemical abundances in the solar system which testify for their abundance at the time of formation of the solar system.
To explain that temporal increase of the natural abundances of the elements was the main goal of stellar nucleosynthesis.
Hoyle's paper was the founding paper of that theory; however, ideas about nuclear reactions in stars providing power for the stars is often confused with stellar nucleosynthesis.
Supernova nucleosynthesis is a theory of the nucleosynthesis of the natural abundances of the chemical elements in supernova explosions, advanced as the nucleosynthesis of elements from carbon to nickel in massive stars by Fred Hoyle in 1954.
In massive stars, the nucleosynthesis by fusion of lighter elements into heavier ones occurs during sequential hydrostatic burning processes called helium burning, carbon burning, oxygen burning, and silicon burning, in which the ashes of one nuclear fuel become, after compressional heating, the fuel for the subsequent burning stage.
During hydrostatic burning these fuels synthesize overwhelmingly the alpha-nucleus () products. Arnett and his Rice University colleagues demonstrated that the final shock burning would synthesize the non-alpha-nucleus isotopes more effectively than hydrostatic burning was able to do, suggesting that the expected shock-wave nucleosynthesis is an essential component of supernova nucleosynthesis.
A rapid final explosive burning is caused by the sudden temperature spike owing to passage of the radially moving shock wave that was launched by the gravitational collapse of the core. Together, shock-wave nucleosynthesis and hydrostatic-burning processes create most of the isotopes of the elements carbon ( (from neon to nickel).