May 29 2013 Wednesday 15:30
June L. Matthews, M.I.T.
Big Bang Nucleosynthesis in the Laboratory

Abstract: By around a microsecond after the Big Bang, the cosmos had cooled sufficiently so that quarks and gluons could coalesce into protons and neutrons. During the next few minutes, deuterium, helium, and a small amount of lithium nuclei were formed. One can use nuclear reaction cross sections obtained in the laboratory to predict the abundances of these elements which can be compared with astronomical observations. However, the most basic cross section, that for the formation of deuterium, has not yet been well-measured.