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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