Story of how scientists got the “primordial matter” that filled the universe immediately after the Big Bang

(ORDO NEWS) — In early 2019, physicists at the University of Colorado, USA, succeeded in creating tiny blobs of “bizarre liquid matter” that, according to conventional cosmological models, filled the entire universe a few milliseconds after the Big Bang.

This is perhaps one of the most amazing achievements of experimental physics, as scientists have actually demonstrated how “base material” can be obtained from “nothing”, from which the entire material world was formed.

Historic discovery

A team of physicists have created a so-called quark-gluon plasma by smashing “bundles” of protons and neutrons into much heavier gold atoms using the PHENIX detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York.

Simply put, protons and neutrons were accelerated to exorbitant speeds and flew into the gold atom, which made it possible to achieve the “crushing” of elementary particles into even more primitive components.

Such experiments make it possible, as it were, to return to the past in order to trace how the Universe has become more complex over time.

It is assumed that quark-gluon plasma filled the entire universe shortly after the Big Bang, when it was still too hot for particles to combine to form the first atoms.

Physicists have found that droplets of quark-gluon plasma behave like a liquid, expanding and forming various geometric patterns – circles, ellipses and triangles – depending on the type of particles used:

  • Shooting a gold atom with a proton formed a circular pattern
  • The shelling of a gold atom by a deuteron or a proton-neutron pair formed an ellipse
  • Hitting a gold atom with a helium-3 atom or two protons and a neutron formed a triangle
Story of how scientists got the primordial matter that filled the universe immediately after the Big Bang 2
Quark-gluon plasma forming patterns

“Imagine you have two blobs [of quark-gluon plasma] that are expanding into a vacuum.

If these droplets are close to each other, then when they expand, they first collide with each other, and then with other paired drops, and this is what forms a new pattern, ”said Professor Jamie Nagle, who took part in the experiment.

Further experiments made it possible to observe how, over time, the quark-gluon plasma forms more and more complex structures. Under natural conditions, the universe took about 300,000 years to cool and provide strong bonds between electrons and nuclei, which formed the first stable atoms.

Going back 13.8 billion years and seeing the first moment since the birth of the universe is an incredible achievement that is a demonstration of the power of human thought.


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