Scientists Recreate Matter Flooding Universe Moments After Big Bang
Scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory have carried out an experiment that has recreated a form of matter that pervaded the entire universe a fraction of a second after the Big Bang – the cosmic explosion that marked the origin of the universe. The experiment produced fundamental insights into laws pertaining to all visible matter.
Using the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a type of a particle accelerator, scientists collided gold ions – atoms with their outer cloud of electrons removed – head-on when they were traveling in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light. The collision produced impact energy so intense that neutrons and protons inside the gold nuclei melted, releasing elementary particles: quarks and gluons, which are fundamental constituents of matter. The scientists say that these particles then formed a nearly friction-free primordial plasma that only existed in nature about a millionth of a second after the Big Bang.