An artist’s interpretation of the Big Bang. (Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab)
There is a gap in the story of the evolution of our universe. First of all, the universe inflated rapidly, like a balloon. And then it all went boom.
But, how do these two terms have been connected to have been overlooked by physicists. Now, a new study suggests a way to link the two time periods.
In the early days of the universe that has grown out of an almost infinitely small point, to close to an octillion (that’s 1 followed by 27 zeros) times in size in less than a billionth of a second. This inflation period was followed by a more gradual, but intense period of expansion, which is known as the “Big Bang”. During the “Big Bang”, with a very hot fireball of elementary particles, such as protons, neutrons, and electrons — expanded and cooled to form atoms, stars, and galaxies that we see today.
The Big Bang theory, which is described in cosmic inflation, it remains one of the most widely supported explanation of how the universe began, but scientists are still baffled by the way in which these different periods of expansion are to be connected. In order to solve the cosmic ray riddle, a team of researchers at Kenyon College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Netherlands’, Leiden University, will be simulated for the critical transition from cosmic inflation and the Big Bang — a period of time and they call it “warming up.”
Related: From the Big Bang to the Present day: Snapshot of the Universe Through Time,
The “post-inflation reheating time period set in the conditions of the Big Bang and, in a certain sense, to put the ‘bang’ of the Big Bang,” David Kaiser, a professor of physics at MIT, said in a statement. “It is a bridge period where all hell breaks loose and the material is behaving in anything but a very simple way.”
When the universe has expanded in a flash of a second, at the time of inflation, all of the existing material, it was scattered, so the universe is a cold and empty place, bereft of the warm soup of particles, which is necessary for the ignition of the Big Bang. During the warm-up period, and the energy with which the inflation rate is assumed to decay into the particles, said Rachel Nguyen, a graduate student in physics at the University of Illinois and lead author of the study.
“As soon as the particles are produced, they can bounce around and knock into each other, and the transfer of momentum and energy,” Nguyen told Live Science. “And that is what thermalizes and reheats the universe at the initial conditions of the Big Bang.”
In their model, Nguyen and her colleagues simulated the behavior of exotic forms of matter are called inflatons. Scientists speculate that these hypothetical particles are similar in nature to the Higgs boson, is made of energy and that is the reason for cosmic inflation. In their model, and showed that, under the right conditions, the energy of the inflatons are to be redistributed efficiently to the diversity of the particles, which is necessary for the warm-up of the universe. They published their results Dec. 24 in the journal Physical Review Letters.
A mix of high-energy physics
“If we are to study the early universe, and what we have to do, is in part an experiment to run at very high temperatures,” said Tom Giblin, a professor of physics at Kenyon College in Ohio, and is the co-author of the study. “The transition from the cold of the inflationary period, the hot period of time, there is a need to be in possession of a number of important clues as to what the particles really do exist in this extremely high-energy.”
The fundamental question that plagues scientists is how the force of gravity is acting on the extremes of the energies present during the explosion. Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, all matter is thought to be influenced by the force of gravity in the same way, which is where the strength of the force of gravity is a constant, independent of particle energy. However, due to the strange world of quantum mechanics, scientists believe that at very high energies, the matter will react to gravity differently.
The team incorporated this assumption in their model is due to the tweaking of how strongly the particles interact with the forces of gravity. They have found that they have increased the strength of the force of gravity, the more efficient is the inflatons transmitted energy to be produced in the city, the hot matter that is found in the big Bang.
Right now, they need to find evidence to support their model, somewhere in the universe.
“The universe has so many secrets are encoded in very complex ways,” Giblin told Live Science. “It’s our job to learn about the nature of reality is to come up with a decoding device, a way to get the information you want to extract from the universe. We will use simulations to make predictions about what the universe should look like, so that we can actually start decoding it. This warm-up period of time, it is a print out somewhere in the universe. We just need to get it done.”
However, the same print can be a challenge. Our first glimpse of the universe is a bubble of radiation, left over from a couple of hundred thousand years after the big Bang, called the cosmic microwave background (CMB). However, the CMB only hints at the state of the universe during those first crucial seconds of the birth. Scientists, such as Giblin, hoping that future observations of gravitational waves will be in the final instructions.
- Cosmic Inflation: How it Gave the Universe the Ultimate Kickstart (Infographic)
- What Is the Shape of the Universe?
- What Can the Simulations Tell Us About the Universe?”
Originally published on Live Science.