Cosmology Talks: James Alvey on Big Bang Nucleosynthesis in 2021

It’s been a while since I last shared another one of those interesting cosmology talks on the Youtube channel curated by Shaun Hotchkiss. This channel features technical talks rather than popular expositions so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but for those seriously interested in cosmology at a research level they should prove interesting. I found this one particular interesting as it is a field that I lost track of quite a long time ago and it was great to see what has been going on!

Here James Alvey gives a pedagofical overview of the general state of the field of Big Bang Nucleosynthesis (BBN) in 2021, including the basic physics that goes into BBN calculations through each of the relevant epochs (neutrino decoupling, the deuterium bottleneck, etc). He gives particular emphasis to the recent LUNA measurements of the D + p →γ + 3He reaction (or deuterium + proton goes to photon and 3-Helium). This was previously the source of greatest uncertainty in predicting the final deuterium abundance of BBN. He ends by talking about the implications of the LUNA measurements on possible new physics beyond the standard model, in particular possible thermal relics.

There is a Nature paper about the LUNA results here and  two other papers on this topic by James can be found here and here.

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