In International Journal of Modern Physics E, Volume 15,
Issue 01, pp. 1-35 (2006)
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Abstract. Primordial nucleosynthesis provides a probe of the Universe during its early evolution. Given the progress exploring the constituents, structure, and recent evolution of the Universe, it is timely to review the status of Big Bang Nucleosynthesis (BBN) and to confront its predictions, and the constraints which emerge from them, with those derived from independent observations of the Universe at much later epochs in its evolution. Following an overview of the key physics controlling element synthesis in the early Universe, the predictions of the standard models of cosmology and particle physics are presented, along with those from some non-standard models. The observational data used to infer the primordial abundances are described, with an emphasis on the distinction between precision and accuracy. These relic abundances are compared with predictions, testing the internal consistency of BBN and enabling a comparison of the BBN constraints with those derived from the WMAP Cosmic Background Radiation data. Emerging from these comparisons is a successful standard model along with constraints on (or hints of) physics beyond the standard models of particle physics and of cosmology.
Keywords Big Bang Nucleosynthesis; Early Universe Expansion Rate; Neutrino Asymmetry; Abundances of D, 3He, 4He, 7Li.
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