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  • Vipul Maheshwari

The Beginning!



Ever thought about how it all started, I mean how we came into existence? What is our origin? It is perhaps the greatest mystery of all time, and sadly even after so much of the technological advancement and research, we are not even close to making a bend into the line. Humanity's grandest questions — How did life begin? What is consciousness? What is dark matter, dark energy, gravity? — stem from it. All of them respond to one simple basic question. What is the Beginning?


Ok. Let's start with the fundamentals.


The broadly accepted theory for the origin and evolution of our universe is the famous Big Bang model, which states that the Universe began as an incredibly hot, dense point roughly 13.7 billion years ago. But that doesn't make any sense as of now, because if it is, then how did the universe go from being fractions of an inch (a few millimeters) across to what it is today? So what was the Big Bang? For the sake of understanding let's imagine everything in the universe condensed into one tiny point which underlines all the matter and energy. This minuscule, dense object not only contained the energy and atoms of everything that will ever exist, but it also contained both space and time themselves. Scientists refer to this point as the 'The Big Bang singularity'.


For the broader and better perspectives, our mind tries to picture the beginning as some starting point like the racing line in a car race, But it's not the case with the beginning of the universe as both space and time were born from this singularity with everything else in the universe. We as human beings can not describe the location of that singularity or what happened before it because there was no such thing as time yet. As there was no concept of 'before' before the singularity point. Time as we are counting begin at the Big Bang, The Beginning itself.



Okay, so back to Big bang. The Big bang theory doesn't wholly support the creation of the Universe but it's so close. Within the first super tiny fraction of a second (less than a trillionth of a second) the Big Bang singularity contained the same amount of matter and energy that we have today but in a very vague form. It's thought that at such an incomprehensibly dense, energetic state, all the four fundamental forces—gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces—were forged into a single force, but our current theories haven't yet figured out how a single, unified force would simply work. To pull this off, we'd need to know how gravity works on the subatomic and quantum scale, but we currently don't.


We do know that after the Big bang our universe expanded incredibly quickly and cooled down in a period known as 'Inflation'. The universe continues to expand today, but the expansion was much more rapid during the inflation period. This theory was originally supported by a Scientist named Edwin Hubble whose observations clarified that galaxies are speeding away from us in all directions.


As soon as the universe starts to expand and cool down, more diverse kinds of particles began to form, and when I say 'Particles' I mean the particles even smaller than the atoms, the particles we can't break into smaller pieces and they eventually condensed into the stars and the galaxies of our present universe.


Additionally, some mysterious stuff call 'Dark matter' may also have existed in this same significant creation process, but that's another story to discuss.


These small particles came together to form protons and Neutrons which amalgamate to form the nucleus of an atom. Different amount of protons and neutrons results in the formation of nuclei of different atoms. de facto, the atom comes into the existence about 400 000 years later after the Big Bang when the electrons began to orbit the nuclei to form the Hydrogen and Helium atoms - the first atoms of the Universe.


Big Bang
Universe Timeline

As 400 million years passed after the Big Bang, the temperature drops significantly and particles became less energetic in nature. As the hydrogen and helium start to move around, the dense gravitational attraction of the existing matter brings both of them together to form the clumps, and these clumps were the beginning of the galaxy like our own Milky way in which we live.


Within the galaxies, matter in smaller dense regions continued to come together by their own gravitational attraction. The atoms became close enough for the nuclear fusion to take place. That's when nuclei of smaller atoms fused together into nuclei of larger atoms, releasing a large amount of energy. These hot, energetic clumps of atoms were the first stars in the universe.


This process goes on giving off light and heat, and in no time the creation of new heavier atoms begins like Carbon and Oxygen.


The heavier elements are then caught in the galaxies by the gravitational attraction of the existing matter. Those elements form new bodies such as planets and moons. Earth itself was made from elements that formed inside the stars of the early universe. And about 8 billion years after the Big Bang, the Earth and several other planets in our Milky Way galaxy began orbiting the sun. Thus, our solar system was formed.


Particle Interactions in the Early Universe: (a) In the first fractions of a second, when the universe was very hot, energy was converted into particles and antiparticles. The reverse reaction also happened: a particle and antiparticle could collide and produce energy. (b) As the temperature of the universe decreased, the energy of typical photons became too low to create matter. Instead, existing particles fused to create such nuclei as deuterium and helium. (c) Later, it became cool enough for electrons to settle down with nuclei and make neutral atoms. Most of the universe was still hydrogen.
Particles interaction in the Universe as time elapsed after the Big Bang

As in real logic, the elements which originated in the stars caused life to form on the Earth. The star that we orbit today (the sun) continues to provide the light and energy which is necessary for us to survive. So, quite literally, we owe our existence to the stars. And since the elements that make up our bodies came from stars, in a sense we are nothing more than stardust. Pretty amazing huh !!:)

Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy. - Albert Einstein

Notes on Big Bang

In brevity….

While I have left out many of the technical details because the universe is not understandable by a piece of an article, in a nutshell, you may consider this article as a spark for your curiosity to understand the Universe from a broader perspective, this summary brings us up to speed with the birth and growth of the universe over the past 14 billion years or so.

  • The universe was born from a hot singular point which was a highly dense and condensed form of matter and energy. We call that point 'Singularity'.

  • As the universe starts to cool and expand, the particles come closer together to form the elementary protons and neutrons which will constitute the nucleus of an atom. This stage is called 'Inflation'.

  • Not until the 400 000 years after the Big Bang, electrons started to orbit the nuclei to result in the formation of the Hydrogen and Helium atoms.

  • As temperature drops significantly the Hydrogen and Helium came together due to the gravitational attraction of the matter to form the bigger atoms like Carbon and Oxygen.

  • The heavier elements are then caught in the galaxies by gravitational attraction. Those elements form new bodies such as planets and moons. Earth itself was made from elements that formed inside the stars of the early universe.

  • In a sense, we exactly don't know about the real creation process, I mean there may be a possibility that our entire universe is probably in a tiny glass jar somewhere, placed on a shelf in an alien child's room as a science fair project that got a C -. Who knows :)

PEACE OUT.


SOURCES

  • BY MICHAEL GRESHKO AND NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STAFF. "ORIGINS OF THE UNIVERSE 101" https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/universe/origins-of-the-universe/

  • By Mike Wall October 21, 2011. "The Big Bang: What Really Happened at Our Universe's Birth?" https://www.space.com/13347-big-bang-origins-universe-birth.html

  • By Geraint Lewis. "How Was the Universe Born?" http://www.australasianscience.com.au/article/issue-november-2011/how-was-universe-born.html

  • By CERN. "The early universe" https://home.cern/science/physics/early-universe

  • By lumenlearning.com. "The Beginning of the Universe" https://courses.lumenlearning.com/astronomy/chapter/the-beginning-of-the-universe/

  • By Abigail Pillitteri Published April 2017 • Copyright © 2017 Morgan & Claypool Publishers. "The birth and growth of the universe" https://iopscience.iop.org/book/978-1-6817-4513-8/chapter/bk978-1-6817-4513-8ch1

  • Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe

  • All the images are subject to copyright.

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