Chemical evolution of the Universe

The Universe consists mainly of H and He formed during the primordial nucleosynthesis. The appearence and evolution of heavy elements (metals) is due instead to the growth of cosmic structures and stars, which synthesized them in their cores, and spread them around at the end of their life as supernovae. In this talk, the general picture of cosmological structure formation will be presented, and results from N-body/hydrodynamical chemistry simulations will be discussed. We will focus on the the impact of primordial molecules and metals on the birth and evolution of cosmic structures, by looking at the role played by each of them, and by considering the different assumptions that are commonly made in literature. The talk will answer questions about the primordial star formation regime (characterized by probably massive, metal-free stars) and its transition to the present-day one (characterized by solar-like stars): how long does the first metal production epoch last? How long does the primordial regime dominate in the Universe? How relevant are the effects of different initial stellar mass functions? What are their impacts on the star formation rate? How does the underlying matter distribution affect the overall picture? How are first objects connected to high-redshift gamma-ray bursts? How does stellar radiation affect the whole cosmic chemical evolution? We will finishing, then, by pointing out the main perspects of cosmological modeling and possible, future developments.