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5 The Cosmic Engine: The Big Bang Theory

1. The Big Bang Theory:
- The Big Bang Theory, is the current scientific theory of the origin of the
- Approximately 13.7 billion years ago, was when the vast explosion of the
Cosmic Egg (Big Bang) lead to incredibly high temperatures and created the
subatomic particles.
- These subatomic particles, created matter and energy which then formed space
and time itself.
- The fast moving particles spread outwards expanding, cooling down; expansion
of the Universe.
- Evidence which supports the Big Bang is the beginning of cosmic background
- ~300 000 years after the Big Bang, the temperature of the universe
dropped greatly for the creation of hydrogen atoms from electrons and protons.
- Radiation was
free from matter at that time. And in 1965 the
discovery of the 'Afterglow' of the Big Bang provided more proof that it did take
- The 'Afterglow' was established by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson.
showed that microwave radiation corresponded to the predicted temperature of
the Big Bang.
- Another piece of evidence, that justifies the Big Bang is Nucleosynthesis.
- Nucleosynthesis refers to the creation of chemical elements by nuclear
- As the universe expanded, the temperature fell. As a result, the light
elements; deuterium, helium-3 and helium-4 were synthesised.
- Nuclear reactions produced a combination of 25% helium-4 and 75%
hydrogen. This closely relates and agrees with the composition of the oldest
Time after Big


0-10-43 s


10-43 s

1032 K

10-35 s

1027 K

10-12 s

1015 K

Predicted events
Planck Time, smallest unit of time. Super Force; (Strong
nuclear, Weak Nuclear, Electromagnetic, Gravitational).
Space and time did not exist, no classified theory.
Gravity decouples from Super Force. Grand Unified Theory
(GUT), able to describe the Electronuclear force.
Strong Nuclear force separates from electronuclear force.
Quarks and Leptons and their antiparticles are created.
All four forces separate. Universe filled with radiation;
Photons and Electrons created.

10-6 s

1013 K

3 min

1010 K
109 K

300 000 years

3000 K

15 billion years.

Quarks combine to form Protons, Neutrons and their

antiparticles. Quarks and anti-Quarks form Mesons,
Electrons and Protons start to annihilate each other.
Universe filled with a sea of particles above^.
Nucleosynthesis begins, protons and neutrons slow down.
Neutrons decay into a proton/electron or combine with
protons to form deuterium nuclei. Deuterium nuclei form
helium nuclei, with amounts of Lithium.
Electrons combine with nuclei forming atoms. Light can be
seen for the first time. Atoms formed, followed by galaxies,
stars and planet.