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Thread: An interesting read from the CERN website.

  1. #1

    Default An interesting read from the CERN website.

    Recipe for a Universe

    Take a massive explosion to create plenty of stardust and a raging heat. Simmer for an eternity in a background of cosmic microwaves. Let the ingredients congeal and leave to cool and serve cold with cultures of tiny organisms 13.7 billion years later.

    To understand the basic ingredients and the ‘cooking conditions’ of the cosmos, from the beginning of time to the present day, particle physicists have to try and reverse-engineer the ‘dish’ of the Universe. Within the complex concoction, cryptic clues hide the instructions for the cosmic recipe.
    Slowly simmer

    Space, time, matter... everything originated in the Big Bang, an incommensurably huge explosion that happened 13.7 billion years ago. The Universe was then incredibly hot and dense but only a few moments after, as it started to cool down, the conditions were just right to give rise to the building blocks of matter – in particular, the quarks and electrons of which we are all made. A few millionths of a second later, quarks aggregated to produce protons and neutrons, which in turn were bundled into nuclei three minutes later.

    Then, as the Universe continued to expand and cool, things began to happen more slowly. It took 380,000 years for the electrons to be trapped in orbits around nuclei, forming the first atoms. These were mainly helium and hydrogen, which are still by far the most abundant elements in the Universe.

    Another 1.6 million years later, gravity began to take control as clouds of gas began to form stars and galaxies. Since then heavier atoms, such as carbon, oxygen and iron, of which we are all made, have been continuously ‘cooked’ in the hearts of the stars and stirred in with the rest of the Universe each time a star comes to a spectacular end as a supernova.
    The mystery ingredient

    So far so good but there is one small detail left out: cosmological and astrophysical observations have now shown that all of the above accounts for only a tiny 4% of the entire Universe. In a way, it is not so much the visible things, such as planets and galaxies, that define the Universe, but rather the void around them!

    Most of the Universe is made up of invisible substances known as 'dark matter' (26%) and 'dark energy' (70%). These do not emit electromagnetic radiation, and we detect them only through their gravitational effects. What they are and what role they played in the evolution of the Universe are a mystery, but within this darkness lie intriguing possibilities of hitherto undiscovered physics beyond the established Standard Model.

    After reading this and other articles on the CERN website, it had me wondering what existed before the 'big bang'. Obviously, we don't have any way to tell, but does anyone have a theory or idea they'd share as to what could have existed more than 13.7billion years ago.

  2. #2


    I know it was purely fiction, but I liked the premise of the book Angels and Demons. Basically by CERN's accelerator being used to prove that matter could come from nothing as an argument for creation. I don't consider myself to be a religious person, but the idea was at least a fun read.

  3. #3


    I was always given to believe that before the Big Bang occurred, all that existed was either:
    a) Chaos (some random substance/material/thingy that for some reason caused the Big Bang)
    b) A singularity (which for some reason or another hyper-inflated in what we called the Big Bang)

    Although I guess another Universe could have existed just over 13.7 billion years ago before a Big Crunch occurred (side-effect of having a closed Universe) compressing everything inside it before having a Big Bang occur, re-expanding the Universe in a new and interesting way.

    Of course our Universe could be a 'shard' Universe of sorts; the remnant of a larger Universe that ripped itself apart because it simply expanded too much (although I'm hazy on that theory @[email protected])

  4. #4


    Just something interesting that i read once: Time has always existed because time was created in the exact instant the universe began. So time has existed for all time. There never was a beginning of time, because before that, time didn't exist. Yet time has existed for as long as time has existed.

    if ya catch my drift...

  5. #5


    See, this is why I love science. The universe is so much bigger, grander, more complex, more beautiful, and WEIRDER than anything we could even begin to conceive of.

    "Some people try to tell me that science will never answer the big questions we have in life. To them I say: baloney! The real problem is your questions aren’t big enough." - Phil Plait, one of the most awesome people ever.

  6. #6

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by dogboy View Post
    But what came before nothing?
    That's one of the really weird parts. A lot of really complicated math shows that time as we know it is simply one of the many dimensions of the universe. Time doesn't actually exist the way we think it does, so 'before' and 'after' are merely human concepts invented to describe our own limited perceptions. Also, current models show that our universe might just be one little bubble sitting on a foam sea of bubbles, each of them spawning more bubbles. In fact, a whole universe could spontaneously appear in your front hall closet right now and you'd never know it. Nothing would appear out of the ordinary to you at all, but to the universe inside that new bubble, it would have looked like the big bang.

    What this ultimately means is that there might not ever have been a 'before' or a 'nothing'. Kinda makes every religion out there seem pretty... boring, doesn't it?

  8. #8


    I think it all came from a big round of Cheese, and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Chillhouse View Post
    Just something interesting that i read once: Time has always existed because time was created in the exact instant the universe began. So time has existed for all time. There never was a beginning of time, because before that, time didn't exist. Yet time has existed for as long as time has existed.

    if ya catch my drift...
    I also heard that time isn't real and it's just something humans have made up. Well it's real to us since we measure things to a degree that qualify's as OCD, but I don't think the universe has a clock running it.

    Anyways I still want to know where all this matter came from for the big bang to even happen and the same thing could be said for god as well singular or pleural. Everything has to come from somewhere right?

  10. #10


    For that somewhere to have existed, it also has to have come from somewhere. Meaning everthing was always everything. Things just get moved around. Why would the existance of everything have to require a starting point? Life is only conversion of matter and energy, planets were also formed the same way. One thing turns into another from something else.

    Personally, I think our universe (from our own big-bang point) was started as the white hole from another universes black hole. That super-density-worm-hole'in stuff is a wonderful enigma.

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