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The Recipe for a Universe

The recipe for the universe calls for a hot primordial soup of elementary particles four picoseconds after the bang, cooling in the expansion of the universe to form neutrons and protons from the quarks and gluons a microsecond after the bang, which then form nuclei from the neutrons and protons three minutes after the bang, which finally make atoms, three-hundred-thousand years AB.It seems that the primordial soup had a yet to be discovered secret ingredient: the dark matter that makes up most of the mass of the present universe. The identity of the mysterious and ubiquitous dark...

So in a very real sense, everything we see in the universe came from the primordial soup, and we know about the early universe because we can cook a little bit of it in the laboratory and sample it. With this taste of success, we can try to understand the universe before the era of primordial soup.

One of the wonderful things about science is that every answer seems to lead to a deeper and more fundamental question. If everything comes from the primordial soup, it is irresistible to ask about the origin of the ingredients.

In the last few years cosmologists have developed a compelling theory for the origin of the primordial soup: it came from nothing. Since nothing is not a very scientific sounding word, I usually refer to nothing as the vacuum. This idea, first proposed by Alan Guth and known as the inflationary universe, assumes that before primordial soup the universe consisted of nothing but empty vacuum.

Contributed by: Dr. Edward Kolb

Cosmic Questions

Did the Universe Have a Beginning? Topic Index
A Recipe for Primordial Soup

The Recipe for a Universe

Two Themes
Growing Cosmology
The Universe Today
The Ten Commandments
Into the Primordial Soup
The Importance of Nothing
A Cosmic Symphony


Rocky Kolb

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