Big bang nucleosynthesis as a probe of new physics

Maxim Pospelov, Josef Pradler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


Big bang nucleosynthesis (BBN), an epoch of primordial nuclear transformations in the expanding universe, has left an observable imprint in the abundances of light elements. Precision observations of such abundances, combined with high-accuracy predictions, provide a nontrivial test of the hot big bang and probe nonstandard cosmological and particle physics scenarios. We give an overview of BBN sensitivity to different classes of new physics: new particle or field degrees of freedom, time-varying couplings, decaying or annihilating massive particles leading to nonthermal processes, and catalysis of BBN by charged relics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-568
Number of pages30
JournalAnnual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science
StatePublished - Nov 23 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • abundances of light elements
  • dark matter
  • early universe
  • extensions of the standard model


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