According to the Big Bang theory, the universe came into being about 14 billion years ago. At first there was nothing. It is this phenomenon that gave rise to particles, planets, stars and galaxies, in short everything that exists.
Despite our current technological capabilities, we have not yet managed to unravel all the secrets of this event. A new study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, today reveals an important detail that could be groundbreaking. In fact, the team thinks they know how the plasma evolved when the universe was born.
A study on plasma quark gluon
As a reminder: At the very beginning of the universe, a few seconds after the Big Bang, it was relatively hot. Scientists continue to wonder how hot matter, called quark-gluon plasma or QGP, cooled down.
Because of this ambiguity, You Zhou, Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen, and his colleagues decided to focus on the subject. “We looked at a substance called plasma quark gluon (PQG), which was the only material that existed during the first microsecond of the Big Bang,” he said, reports Scitechdaily.
The sought-after LHC
To do this, the team examined data from an experiment with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The experiment involved the collision of lead particles at 99.999% the speed of light.
Thanks to this, researchers managed to create what they believe was the first to appear after the Big Bang. The results of the study were published in Physics Letter B on May 11th. “Our results tell us a unique story about how plasma evolved at the very beginning of the universe,” added Professor Zhou, according to the Interestingengineering website.
A soft and smooth texture
Physicists said the data obtained from the LHC was precise enough to claim that the starting material was a liquid. A discovery that contradicts the hypothesis that the plasma was in gaseous form. In fact, they found that PQG had a soft and smooth texture “like that of water”.
Although the hot matter remained in this state for only a few microseconds, the team was still able to use the data for computer simulations. This approach enabled them to understand the properties of matter. You now also know how it changed between its formation and its condensation into hadrons.
“The plasma, made up of quarks and gluons, was first separated by the hot expansion of the universe. Then the quarks formed into so-called hadrons. A hadron with three quarks creates a proton that belongs to the atomic nucleus. These cores are the building blocks that make up the earth, ourselves and the universe around us, ”wrote Professor Zhou, according to our colleagues at Medium.
The expansion of the universe. (Timeline) Image credit: Shutterstock / Designua