According to a new study by an international team of researchers from Japan, the United States, and Canada, gravitational waves, which are ripples in space-time, could contain evidence to prove that the universe survived the Big Bang due to a phase transition that allowed neutrino particles to reshuffle matter and anti-matter. This research was just published in “Physical Review Letters.”

According to the Big Bang hypothesis, matter and anti-matter were formed at the same time. If things had remained that way, matter and anti-matter would have ultimately collided and obliterated one another, resulting in total extinction. However, our very existence defies this. To avoid total annihilation, the universe must have converted a little portion of anti-matter into matter, causing an imbalance between them. The required imbalance is just a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billion However, when and how the imbalance occurred has remained a total mystery. “When we go back roughly a million years after the universe’s inception, it becomes opaque to light.” “This makes answering the basic issue of ‘why are we here?’ challenging,” said co-author and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researcher Jeff Dror of the University of California, Berkeley.

Because matter and anti-matter have opposing electrical charges, they cannot combine until they are electrically neutral. Neutrinos are the only electrically neutral matter particles known. Many physicists believe that the cosmos went through a phase transition, allowing neutrinos to reorder matter and anti-matter.

When the behavior of matter changes at particular temperatures known as critical temperatures, it is known to experience a phase transition, such as boiling water to vapour or freezing water to ice, or when a certain metal becomes a superconductor when chilled to a very low temperature. “Like a superconductor, the phase transition in the early universe may have created a very thin tube of magnetic fields called cosmic strings,” co-author Hitoshi Murayama of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo explained.

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The researchers think that the cosmic strings then strive to simplify themselves, resulting in small wobbly wobbles of space-time known as gravitational waves. For virtually all probable critical temperatures, these might be observed by future space-borne observatories such as LISA, BBO (European Space Agency), or DECIGO (Japanese Astronautical Exploration Agency). “Because the cosmos is transparent to gravity all the way back to the beginning, the recent finding of gravitational waves provides up a fresh chance to peer back deeper in time.” When the universe was a trillion to a quadrillion times hotter than it is now, neutrinos are likely to have behaved in exactly the manner we need to secure our existence. “We proved that they very certainly left a backdrop of measurable gravitational waves to let us know,” said co-author Graham White of TRIUMF in Canada.

“Gravitational waves from cosmic strings have a considerably different spectrum than astrophysical sources such as black hole mergers.” “It’s highly possible that we’ll be absolutely persuaded that the source is, in fact, cosmic strings,” said Kazunori Kohri of Japan’s High Energy Accelerator Research Organization.

“It would be incredibly wonderful to find out why we exist at all,” Murayama added. “This is the ultimate scientific inquiry.”

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