It took decades for researchers to figure out that plasma originally was liquid. Now, they are beginning to figure out what happened to it during the first moments of the Big Bang.
Physicists from the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University have presented research that explains the earliest creation of the universe. They figured out exactly what happened to the unique type of plasma during the first microsecond of the Big Bang.
The generally accepted theory is that the universe began about 14 billion years ago. This happened as a result of the almost instantaneous transformation of a hot and energetically saturated point into the radically expanding Universe as we know it. Scientists called this process the Big Bang.
The rapid expansion of the Universe led to the appearance of particles, atoms, stars, and galaxies, but very little is known about what exactly happened in the first moments of the “creation of the universe” and not all scientists adhere to the well-known Big Bang theory.
The latest physicists’ discovery provides a piece of the puzzle for understanding the evolution of the universe although we certainly are far from solving the entire mystery.
10 Things you should know about the first microsecond of the Big Bang
1. With the help of the Large Hadron Collider, located in Switzerland, scientists were able to recreate the quark-gluon plasma (QGP).
2. It is believed that this particular type of plasma was present in the first 0.000001 seconds of the Big Bang.
3. Their results showed that QGP was previously liquid and differed from other matter by a constant change in shape. Then the plasma disappeared, as it was “spaced” into several parts.
4. The particle accelerator helped researchers replicate this process. Plasma ions were “smashed” at an extremely high speed, almost equal to the speed of light.
5. This helped to study how QGP transforms from its own matter into part of our universe’s atomic nuclei and building blocks.
6. In addition, the researchers developed an algorithm that allowed them to simultaneously analyze twice as much information about the particles as was previously possible.
7. The results showed that QGP in the first microsecond of the Big Bang was liquid and had a smooth structure.
8. According to the scientist, the plasma, made up of quarks and gluons, disintegrated when the universe expanded during the Big Bang. Then the pieces of the quark joined together and formed the so-called hadrons.
9. The hadron, consisting of three parts of a quark, in turn, formed a proton, which is part of the nuclei of atoms. These nuclei have become the building blocks of all life. It was they who helped shape the Universe, as well as our Earth and all life on it.
10. Scientists have yet to explain why the plasma changed shape. However, the new discovery brings us closer to solving the mystery of the Big Bang and understanding how exactly the universe developed in its first microsecond.
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• ALICE Collaboration⋆. (2021, May 11). Measurements of mixed harmonic cumulants in Pb–Pb collisions at sNN=5.02 TeV. Physics Letters B.
• Phys.org. (2021, May 21). Study reveals new details on what happened in the first microsecond of Big Bang.
• Young, C. (2021, May 24). New Study Sheds Light on the First Microsecond of the Big Bang. Interesting Engineering.