Physicists at the University of Chicago have reproduced the environment shortly after the Big Bang occurred, using ultracold cesium atoms in a vacuum chamber. Tracing back to the Big Bang. Image © Ivo LabbÃ
Top image: WMAP data of the Cosmic Microwave Background. Credit: NASA
The laboratory simulation of the Big Bang, is a pattern resembling the cosmic microwave background radiation.
Cheng Chin professor in physics, said:
“This is the first time an experiment like this has simulated the evolution of structure in the early universe.
At this ultracold temperature, atoms get excited collectively. They act as if they are sound waves in air.
Inflation set out the initial conditions for the early universe to create similar sound waves in the cosmic fluid formed by matter and radiation.”
The cosmic microwave background is the echo of the Big Bang. Extensive measurements of the CMB have come from the orbiting Cosmic Background Explorer in the 1990s, and later by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and various ground-based observatories, including the UChicago-led South Pole Telescope collaboration. These tools have provided cosmologists with a snapshot of how the universe appeared approximately 380,000 years following the Big Bang, which marked the beginning of our universe.
It turns out that under certain conditions, a cloud of atoms chilled to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero (-459.67 degrees Fahrenheit) in a vacuum chamber displays phenomena similar to those that unfolded following the Big Bang, Hung said.