Cosmology and the Origin of Life


Making Helium:

But, deuterium is a very fragile nucleus and can easily be broken apart by a high energy photon:

Now there is an interesting race condition:

Will deuterium combine with another proton to make a nucleus with 3 nucleons or will it be photodissociated before it can do this?

This race condition depends on the density of protons:

So things are trying to proceed as follows:

The end result is the conversion of 2 protons and 2 neutrons into 1 Helium-4 nucleus.

Before the Reaction:

After the reaction

The mass of 1 Helium-4 nucleus is about 4 times the mass of a proton

Now we can make a prediction:

The helium abundance reflects three things:

Element Production beyond helium:

We have now finished the first step in the process

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