The Large Hadron Collider can recreate the energy density thought to be present a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang. Dr David Krofcheck explains how this can be used to study the nature of the matter that existed before being captured into protons and neutrons. He is excited by the prospect of being able to control the creation of Big Bang matter by using the LHC.
DR DAVID KROFCHECK
The Big Bang theory has an extra postulate that was a singularity where all matter and energy was confined to a point, and we can’t approach that with a human-made situation, but we can approach the situation maybe a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang. This is when the size of the universe was maybe the size of our solar system as it was expanding. And the temperature at that time of the universe was maybe a million million degrees centigrade. This is just the temperatures that we can reach and the energy density that we can reach at the Large Hadron Collider.
In that sense, we can recreate conditions that were presumed to exist just a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, and by studying the particle patterns that get produced by colliding 2 lead nuclei, we can study the nature of the matter that existed – the quarks and gluons that may not have been captured yet into protons and neutrons – we can study their collective behaviour as they existed in the early few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, and we can do it over and over again, because we can have collision after collision after collision. We can control the creation of Big Bang matter. It’s wonderful if you think about that.
Dana Berry, Skyworks, NASA
Georges Boxaider, CERN