What happened right after the big bang? What we think we know and what we still don’t know …

It is true that thanks to the technologies available to us today, we can understand the universe better than previous generations. However, there are things we don’t yet know, especially about what happened immediately after the Big Bang.

The scientific community admits that about 13.77 billion years ago the cosmos was insanely hot and incredibly small, with a temperature of over a quadrillion degrees. We also know that less than a second after the big boom, there was inflation – a time of incredibly rapid expansion.

A hostile era

In less than an instant, the universe has grown to a phenomenal size, bristling with both dark matter and radiation. The first elements appeared a few minutes later. Before that time, the cosmos was far too hot to form anything stable. It essentially consisted of quarks and gluons. Note that quarks are the basic building blocks of atomic nuclei, while the latter are considered to be carriers of strong nuclear force.

Lack of detail

When the temperature began to drop a few ten minutes later, protons and neutrons produced the first hydrogen and helium, from which the first stars and galaxies emerged. Since then, the universe has just grown and cooled.

Puzzles waiting to be solved. Photo credit: Shutterstock / kersonyanovicha

Granted, this story of the early universe is accepted by the vast majority of scientists, but details are sorely lacking. To answer this, astronomers use advanced tools like particle accelerators. Even so, some questions remain unanswered in that they are simply beyond our theoretical understanding.

Puzzles waiting to be solved

Some examples of these puzzles are presented in an article recently published on the arXiv platform. This includes a whole series of dark matter questions. For example, we still don’t know what this matter is made of, which is said to make up more than 80% of all matter in the universe.

The imbalance between matter and antimatter is also one of the greatest puzzles waiting to be solved. Indeed, the experiments carried out by scientists have always shown an even distribution between matter and antimatter. Another puzzle, the power source of expansion. It is not known what started it and what stopped it. In short, there are still many questions waiting to be answered about how the universe came into being. Hopefully one day we can use technology to enlighten them.