A phase of matter created moments after the Big Bang is thought to have been detected at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
“Striking” evidence of a quark-gluon plasma has been observed by a team of researchers, including Canadians, at the facility near Geneva, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced Friday.
“People have been searching for evidence of this for decades,” Canadian physicist Richard Teuscher said Friday from CERN’s laboratory. “What’s exciting is if this is really true … [it's] the first unambiguous measurement of this condition of the early universe.”
The results of the experiment by an international collaboration called ATLAS were accepted Friday morning for publication in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters, less than 24 hours after it was submitted, said Teuscher, a research scientist at the Canadian Institute for Particle Physics and a physics professor at the University of Toronto.
Normally, the peer review process takes weeks or months, added Teuscher, a member of ATLAS who did some of the data analysis for the experiment.
Physicists theorize that a few hundred millionths of a second after the Big Bang (about 14 billion years ago), the universe was made of a quark-gluon plasma — an extremely hot soup of very tiny subatomic particles.