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National Geographic on the Big Bang “lithium shortage”

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lithium floating in oil

Where is all the lithium (lightest metal) that should be left over from the Big Bang? National Georaphic here:

“The most radical solution to the problem is that the big bang theory is incomplete. But less radical solutions haven’t yet solved the problem,” says theoretical physicist Brian Fields of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who was not involved in the observations.

One possible explanation for the lithium shortfall could be that stars originally contained much more lithium than they do now, and that the element was somehow destroyed in nuclear reactions. “It’s not a crazy idea,” says Fields, “but it’s hard to work out in detail.”

A more likely explanation, according to both Fields and Primack, is that there was some sort of energy release in the first few minutes after the big bang that suppressed the production of lithium, and which isn’t being accounted for. If that’s true, the now-missing lithium may have started out in another form as cosmological detritus. That flotsam, in turn, may have decayed into “dark matter”—a kind of invisible stuff thought to make up most of the matter in the universe today.

Of course, the Big Bang has never been popular. See Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train, for a quick rundown on effort to disconfirm it, for mainly theological reasons (it smacks of theism).

See also: Big Bang lithium shortage a “hard nut to crack”?

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3 Replies to “National Geographic on the Big Bang “lithium shortage”

  1. 1
    awstar says:

    A more likely explanation, according to both Fields and Primack, is that there was some sort of energy release in the first few minutes after the big bang that suppressed the production of lithium, and which isn’t being accounted for. If that’s true, the now-missing lithium may have started out in another form as cosmological detritus. That flotsam, in turn, may have decayed into “dark matter”—a kind of invisible stuff thought to make up most of the matter in the universe today.

    Now if God said “let there be light” and there was light, then I suppose He could have also said “easy on the lithium”. But cosmological flotsam, decaying into dark matter — which scientists haven’t actually observed, measured, or experimented with — does make soooo much more sense.

  2. 2
    tjguy says:

    Of course, the Big Bang has never been popular. See Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train, for a quick rundown on effort to disconfirm it, for mainly theological reasons (it smacks of theism).

    It’s true that there are people who have philosophical problems with the Big Bang, but there are also valid scientific problems with it as well like this article points out.

    Why assume that scientists pointing out problems with the Big Bang are doing it because of philosophical problems?

    Are you open to the Big Bang being falsified?

    Why would evidence that challenges the Big Bang be a problem for you?

    Why not honestly evaluate it in light of all the problems with it instead of just adding God to the mix to prop up the idea?

    Isn’t it possible that this as well as other problems are indications that it should be discarded, not for philosophical reasons but for scientific reasons?

    Most of us are not comfortable adding God to the evolutionary paradigm to solve the problems, so let’s not do that here either.

    Let’s let it stand or fall on its own merits.

  3. 3
    tjguy says:

    Of course, the Big Bang has never been popular. See Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train, for a quick rundown on effort to disconfirm it, for mainly theological reasons (it smacks of theism).

    It’s true that there are people who have philosophical problems with the Big Bang, but there are also valid scientific problems with it as well like this article points out.

    Why assume that scientists pointing out problems with the Big Bang are doing it because of philosophical problems?

    Are you open to the Big Bang being falsified?

    Why would evidence that challenges the Big Bang be a problem for you?

    Why not honestly evaluate it in light of all the problems with it instead of just adding God to the mix to prop up the idea?

    Isn’t it possible that this as well as other problems are indications that it should be discarded, not for philosophical reasons but for scientific reasons?

    Most of us are not comfortable adding God to the evolutionary paradigm to solve the problems, so let’s not do that here either.

    Let’s let it stand or fall on its own merits.

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