The beginning of time probably looked like soup, claim scientists

The end result is a substance that has not existed in 13 billion years.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Goop soup.

Scientists have long pondered what the beginning of time might have looked like. Now, researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island have used a Heavy Ion Collider (REIC) to recreate the circumstances of that time and give a glimpse into what it might have looked like.

A view into the goop that made up the beginning of time

In a Scientific American report, the scientists speculate that using a particle accelerator provided a view into the goop (resembling a soup) that was potentially part of our brand-new universe.

The scientists made visible the theory that a Big Bang event billions of years ago created a universe so new that atoms weren’t even present yet.

This world carried the ingredients of atoms, protons, and neutrons in what is called quarks mixed in a fluid with gluon particles in a substance referred to as the quark-gluon plasma.

They were able to do this using the 2.4-mile-long REIC that can send particles up to 99.995 percent the speed of light. Making use of superconducting magnets and the collisions at REIC, the scientists were able to produce “tiny droplets of quark-gluon plasma.”

The next step for the researchers is using the power of the enhanced REIC to get a better understanding of the more powerful forces in nature, known as the quantum chromodynamic theory.

Understanding nature and its forces

“As human beings, we want to understand nature, and part of understanding nature is to understand quantum chromodynamics and the strong force,” physicist Haiyan Gao, associate laboratory director for nuclear and particle physics at Brookhaven, told Scientific American.

“We need to do experiments on quark-gluon plasma to understand how this theory works.”

“This is what filled the entire universe about 10 microseconds after the big bang,” Bjoern Schenke, a Brookhaven theoretical physicist, added. “Studying it allows us to go back in time as much as we possibly can.”

The end result is a substance that has not existed in 13 billion years. Studying this quark soup, allows scientists to understand more about our primordial cosmic origins and the matter that surrounds us today. How did it come to be, and where may it be heading?

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