A recent news story from Gonzaga University reports on research by Gonzaga Professor Erik Aver using the Large Binocular Telescope to study the primordial helium abundance. The work, conducted in collaboration with Richard Pogge at Ohio State University and Evan Skillman at the University of Minnesota, was recently awarded major support through a grant of $755k from the National Science Foundation.

The study will make use of LBT spectra of more than 40 metal-poor galaxies analyzed with advanced methods to measure a value for the primordial helium abundance with an uncertainty of approximately 0.5%. The resulting increase in precision will be significant as a constraint on proposed scenarios for extending the standard model of particle physics.