There are two types of quantum mechanical particles, fermions and bosons. Bosons comprise what is commonly called energy, and fermions are matter. Einstein theorized, and it was later verified by observation, that matter translates into energy in accordance with the formula E = MC2 where C is a constant equal to the nominal speed of light.
The Pauli Exclusion Principle states that two or more fermions cannot occupy the same location in time and space. This constraint does not apply to bosons.
Empirical evidence definitively shows that the universe has been and still is expanding rapidly. In 1927, Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître theorized from this idea that at one time, the precursor of all matter and energy occupied one small point. This concept came to be further refined conceptually and called a singularity. Subsequent observational data, including the existence of microwave background radiation, has supported this view.
In 1968 and 1970, British theoreticians Stephen Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose built upon Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, showing that time and space indeed had a definite beginning coinciding with the birth of what became matter and energy.
It is now theoretically possible, using generally accepted physical laws of nature, to ascertain with increasing precision the sequence of events immediately following the primeval explosion that began everything.
Our current model of Bing Bang chronology states that the event happened 13.798 billion years ago. Prior to that, nothing existed outside a single point-like location, probably about the size of a proton. There was no ticking clock that determined when the Big Bang would happen, for that event marked the beginning of time and space as we now measure them.
At first, there was so much heat that matter, even elementary particles, could not exist as discrete entities. With its rapid expansion, the universe, still unimaginably hot, cooled sufficiently so symmetry breaking could take place. This consisted of a progressive evolution of states of being wherein the strong force separated from the weak force and the first elementary particles emerged.
Further symmetry breaking took place, all this within the first hour of existence, and all particles as we know them, including full-scale neutral atoms, mostly hydrogen, appeared.
From what we know of matter and antimatter, it seems reasonable to suppose that they were created in equal amounts as the rapidly expanding universe cooled sufficiently to allow them to exist. In view of this, a puzzling question today is What happened to all the antimatter?
Antimatter, by means of secondary phenomena, can be observed in the universe in relatively small quantities. And it can be created in laboratory settings, a limited number of atoms at a time. It is impossible to store antimatter in a conventional container because antimatter and matter upon contact are both instantly destroyed. However, a device known as a Penning trap can confine very small quantities of antimatter, making use of a combination of magnetic and electric fields.
Antimatter is by far the most expensive material to manufacture. A cost of $62.5 trillion has been estimated by NASA to make one gram of anti-hydrogen. Far smaller amounts are sufficient for research projects, which are ongoing.
Filed Under: Test & Measurement Tips