The classical theory – the Big Bang theory – says that the universe emerged from a single infinitely dense point called the initial singularity. But the existing laws of physics cannot explain what triggered this explosion, and therefore many scientists say that it was the only event in time that had no cause.
Even though the Big Bang theory is considered the main and official version of the origin of the Universe, cosmologists never cease to put forward new hypotheses. Phenomena such as constant expansion, the action of dark energy and dark matter, and much more force scientists to constantly reconsider their views on the moment the cosmos was born.
The entire explanation, however, is unlikely to be achieved any time soon. Nevertheless, scientists are moving in the right direction and often revealing new achievements. Here is a new one. According to scientists, a complex network of structures formed in the Universe in the first trillionth of a second after the Big Bang, about 13.8 billion years ago.
Physicists from the Universities of Göttingen and Auckland used complex computer simulations and mathematical calculations to model these primary structures, which turned out to be microscopically small.
Even the miniature scale that the scientists were able to model is hard to comprehend. How do 20 kilograms of mass fit into a miniature space as big as 10-20 meters across? And this reaction happened 10-24 seconds after the Big Bang which literally means a trillion times faster than you can blink.
To give us a better idea of this experiment’s miniature scale, the scientists explained that the simulated physical space is a million times smaller than a single proton. Yes, to some this scale may sound unimpressive but there has never been a larger simulation of such a small area of quantum structures of the early universe after the Big Bang.
Unfortunately, computer-modeled structures are very short-lived. Eventually, they are “weathered” into standard elementary particles, scientists say. But such modeling can help understand the primary processes in space, for example, the appearance of a gravitational wave, primordial black holes, and the mechanisms that “triggered” the expansion of the universe.
According to the researchers, these miniature structures that formed at the first moments after the Big Bang have similar behavior to large structures in today’s Universe. This, however, is no proof that they are identical (but on different scales) or that the same structures are behind the formation of the universe as we see it today.
What this means is that scientists are getting closer to the important answers. They believe that these quantum structures could still exist in the Universe for us to find and study. The problem, I believe, is the current state of technology that is far from what we need for this type of quantum exploration. Nevertheless, we should appreciate the efforts as one day, technology will undoubtedly be as advanced as we need it to be today.
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• Eggemeier, B., Niemeyer, J., & Easther, R. (2021, March 22). Formation of inflaton halos after inflation.
• EurekAlert. (n.d.). Three images SHOWING simulations of early universe.
• Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. (n.d.). Press release: The very first structures in the universe.
• McRae, M. (n.d.). Scientists have simulated the primordial quantum structure of our universe.