Where did all the lithium of the world go?

1 Answer

The success of Big Bang Model helped in predicting the abundances of light elements that are being observed. Nearly 13.7 billion years ago, due to a nuclear fusion hydrogen, lithium and helium were produced. When it comes to calculating the accuracy of hydrogen and helium, the results are accurate based on the big bang model, but there has always been an issue with lithium. It is less than three or four times of what a standard model predicts. So where did all the lithium go?

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Testing Big Bang Predictions:

The big bang predictions are analysed by studying the spectral lines of deuterium, helium and lithium in stars and gas clouds. The results come great when the gas cloud and the stars are very distant. As according to the finite velocity of light, the greater will be the distance, the measure the farther back in time. So a star that had less time before its implosion, the more it is expected to destroy deuterium and lithium while producing additional helium. 

1st Possible Cause:

Astronomer Corinne Charbonnel and Francesca Primas figure out that the halo stars must have gone through a depletion phase on their surface during their evolution. Since during stellar burn, lots of lithium are consumed in the process, so we can consider it as the fact that a vast majority of lithium may get depleted at the surface of these burning stars. Brian Field, an astronomer, also concluded that if the age of the star is young and if the surface temperature of the surface layer of the star exceeds 2.5 X 106 Kelvin then such exposure can result in a massive destruction of Lithium.

2nd Possible Cause:

Some scientist’s claims that the lithium abundance might be a result of the exposure of stellar surface ti the cosmic rays on a long term basis. But it is still not determined up to what degree the exposure can destroy the lithium and in how much quantity?

3rd Possible Cause:

Scientists from Institute of modern Physics, china have provided an elegant solution to this problem. The Key Assumption in the Nucleosynthesis theory of Big Bang is that the nuclei follow a thermodynamic equilibrium process. Their velocities that help in calculating the reaction rates of the Thermonuclear is according to the Classical distribution of Maxwell-Boltzmann. The main thing to consider in this theory is that it is still unknown if nuclei will follow the same classic distribution in a complex situation due to the fast expansion of Big Bang hot Plasma.


According to Mr.  Hou and Mr. He, the nuclei of lithium will not respond the same, and they present a slightly modified version of the Mzawell-Boltzmann known as a “non-extensive statistics”. The authors claimed that they could easily predict the Primordial Abundances of the three element Helium, Lithium and deuterium. Now if they manage to predict the primordial abundances of Lithium. If the new method helps in solving the history of the Lithium abundance, then the day won’t be far away when the big bang theory will come to a step closer to solving the formation of our universe.

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