Light Elements Weigh in on Crisis in CosmologyJanuary 21, 2020
A bedrock prediction of the Big Bang theory has been contradicted by abundant observations, according to a new study by LPPFusion’s Chief Scientist Eric Lerner which he presented Jan. 8 at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Honolulu, deepening the already widely-discussed crisis in cosmology. The study looks at the origin and abundance of three key light elements that are hypothesized to have been created by the Big Bang. Precise amounts of helium, deuterium and lithium are predicted to have been formed by fusion reactions in the dense, extremely hot initial instants of the Big Bang.
For both lithium and helium, the study shows, observations of abundances in old stars now differ from predictions by more than a dozen standard deviations and the gap has been widening at an accelerating pace. The oldest stars have less than half the helium and less than one tenth the lithium than that predicted by Big Bang Nucleosynthesis theory. The lowest lithium levels observed are less than 1% that predicted by the theory. Indeed, the evidence is consistent with no helium or lithium having been formed before the first stars in our galaxy.
Li vs Fe abundance for the 26 known dwarf stars with Fe/H<10 ppb. These are the oldest stars, with the least contamination from earlier stars. Dark blue dots are measured values, red dots are Li upper limits and light blue dots are Li and Fe upper limits. The BBN predicted range of values is shown by the red solid lines.
Equally important, the study shows that the right amounts of these light elements have been predicted by an alternative explanation, which hypothesizes that these elements were produced by stars in the earliest stages of the evolution of galaxies. This alternative explanation, which Lerner calls the Galactic Origin of Light Elements or GOLE hypothesis, derives from theoretical expectations that the first generation of stars to form in a galaxy are intermediate-mass stars that are from 4 to 12 times as massive as the sun. These stars burn hydrogen to helium in tens to a couple of hundred million years, much faster than our sun’s burn rate of ten billion years. The helium then disperses in powerful stellar winds during the late stages of these stars’ lifetimes. Cosmic rays from these early stars, colliding at high energy with other nuclei, produce deuterium and lithium.
The science website “See the Pattern” posted Dec. 21 a new hour-long illustrated interview with Lerner discussing the relationship between the companies’ fusion research efforts and his research in cosmology. The physical theories that guide the development of the plasma focus device for fusion experiments arose from studies by Lerner and others of quasars, the giant explosions deep in space. The tiny plasmoids in the device, where the fusion reactions take place, are in essence ultra-scaled-down versions of quasars. So, instead of a “star in a bottle” our fusion device is more a “quasar in a bottle”.
Lerner’s research in fusion and in cosmology have been closely linked for decades. In addition to the quasar work, Lerner performed calculations about the origin of the large-scale structure of the universe, based on the properties of plasma filamentation—an instability that generates tornadoes of electric current and magnetic fields on all scales. On the cosmology side, these calculations, together with observations of giant superclusters of galaxies, showed that the largest structures must have taken hundreds of billions of years to form, far longer than the time available since the hypothetical Big Bang, so this was strong evidence against the Big Bang theory. On the fusion side, quantitative understanding of these filaments, which form on a tiny scale in the plasma focus device, allowed solid predictions of how the device would work best.
Many of the conflicts between Big Bang theory and observations that are emphasized in the new study have been known for some time, especially the “lithium problem”. But most cosmologists have dismissed them as “anomalies” in an otherwise sound Big Bang “concordance cosmology” theory. On the contrary, Lerner contends that the light elements results join the better-known Hubble-constant and closed-universe problems in a long list of contradictions between Big Bang theory and observations. “The Big Bang should have resulted in the annihilation of matter and antimatter, leaving a surviving density of matter that would be a hundred billion times less than that observed,” Lerner points out. “To avoid that outcome, Big Bang theory requires an asymmetry of matter and antimatter with consequences, such as the decay of the proton, which have been contradicted by extensive experiments. In addition, an expanding universe should lead to declines in the surface brightness of distant galaxies—but those have not been observed either, as I and my colleagues have shown in published papers. The list of contradictions goes on and on. For cosmology to advance, the basic hypothesis of the Big Bang has to be abandoned. The real crisis in cosmology is that the Big Bang never happened.”
Technical background on the new study and on the other problems with Big Bang theory is available here.