The Most Metal-poor Damped Lyman-alpha Systems and Early Nucleosynthesis
Ryan Cooke



The first metals in our Universe were created and distributed by stars we still know very little about. Before these metals were incorporated in the second generation of stars, they were (presumably) stored within a large reservoir of gas. In this talk, I will present the results from an ongoing survey to search for this `missing-link' by targeting near-pristine damped Lyman-alpha systems (DLAs) at z~3. I report the discovery of a few systems that exhibit an abundance pattern inline with model calculations of metal-free nucleosynthesis, including notable enhancements in their C/Fe ratio; such an abundance pattern is akin to the carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars seen in the halo of our Galaxy. For the full sample of DLAs in this survey, I compare their chemical abundances to Galactic metal-poor stars, and comment on the new insight this has afforded for several highly-debated trends seen in stars when [Fe/H] < -2.0. I will also discuss the importance of these systems as tools to study Big Bang Nucleosynthesis.