The lithium-rich giant star puzzle [slides]
Dr. Andy Casey, Postdoctoral Fellow
All theoretical models of stellar evolution predict that most of the lithium inside a star is destroyed as the star becomes a red giant. However, observations reveal that about 1% of red giants are peculiarly rich in lithium, often exceeding the amount in the interstellar medium or predicted from the Big Bang. With only 151 lithium-rich giants discovered in the past four decades, and no distinguishable properties other than lithium enhancement, the origin of lithium-rich giant stars is one of the oldest problems in stellar astrophysics. In this talk I will report on the discovery of 2,330 low-mass lithium-rich giant stars, and a likely solution to this longstanding puzzle.