From University of Göttingen [Georg-August-Universität Göttingen](DE) and University of Auckland(NZ): “The very first structures in the Universe”

From University of Göttingen [Georg-August-Universität Göttingen](DE)

and

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From University of Auckland(NZ)

24.03.2021

Benedikt Eggemeier
University of Göttingen(DE)
Institute for Astrophysics
benedikt.eggemeier@phys.uni-goettingen.de

Professor Jens Niemeyer
University of Göttingen(DE)
Institute for Astrophysics
jens.niemeyer@phys.uni-goettingen.de

Professor Richard Easther
University of Auckland(NZ)
Department of Physics
r.easther@auckland.ac.nz

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The results of the simulation show the growth of tiny, extremely dense structures very soon after the inflation phase of the very early universe. Between the initial and final states in the simulation (top left and right respectively), the area shown has expanded to ten million times its initial volume, but is still many times smaller than the interior of a proton. The enlarged clump at the bottom left would have a mass of about 20kg. Credit: Jens Niemeyer/ University of Göttingen [Georg-August-Universität Göttingen](DE)

Astrophysicists at the University of Göttingen [Georg-August-Universität Göttingen](DE) and University of Auckland(NZ) simulate microscopic clusters from the Big Bang.

The very first moments of the Universe can be reconstructed mathematically even though they cannot be observed directly. Physicists from the University of Göttingen [Georg-August-Universität Göttingen](DE) and University of Auckland(NZ) have greatly improved the ability of complex computer simulations to describe this early epoch. They discovered that a complex network of structures can form in the first trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. The behaviour of these objects mimics the distribution of galaxies in today’s Universe.

Universe map Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey.

In contrast to today, however, these primordial structures are microscopically small. Typical clumps have masses of only a few grams and fit into volumes much smaller than present-day elementary particles. The results of the study have been published in the journal Physical Review D.

The researchers were able to observe the development of regions of higher density that are held together by their own gravity. “The physical space represented by our simulation would fit into a single proton a million times over,” says Professor Jens Niemeyer, head of the Astrophysical Cosmology Group at the University of Göttingen. “It is probably the largest simulation of the smallest area of the Universe that has been carried out so far.” These simulations make it possible to calculate more precise predictions for the properties of these vestiges from the very beginnings of the Universe.

Although the computer-simulated structures would be very short-lived and eventually “vaporise” into standard elementary particles, traces of this extreme early phase may be detectable in future experiments. “The formation of such structures, as well as their movements and interactions, must have generated a background noise of gravitational waves,” says Benedikt Eggemeier, a PhD student in Niemeyer’s group and first author of the study. “With the help of our simulations, we can calculate the strength of this gravitational wave signal, which might be measurable in the future.”

It is also conceivable that tiny black holes could form if these structures undergo runaway collapse. If this happens they could have observable consequences today, or form part of the mysterious dark matter in the Universe. “On the other hand,” says Professor Easther, “If the simulations predict black holes form, and we don’t see them, then we will have found a new way to test models of the infant Universe.”

See the full article here.

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The University of Auckland(NZ) is a public university based in Auckland, New Zealand. It is the highest ranked New Zealand university in the QS World University Rankings and Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities. The institution was established in 1883 as a constituent college of the University of New Zealand. Originally it was housed in a disused courthouse. Today, the University of Auckland is New Zealand’s largest university by enrollment, hosting about 40,000 students on five Auckland campuses. The City Campus, in central Auckland, has the bulk of the students and faculties. There are eight faculties, including a law school, as well as three research institutes associated with the university.

The University of Göttingen [Georg-August-Universität Göttingen] (DE) , is a public research university in the city of Göttingen, Germany. Founded in 1734 by George II, King of Great Britain and Elector of Hanover, and starting classes in 1737, the Georgia Augusta was conceived to promote the ideals of the Enlightenment. It is the oldest university in the state of Lower Saxony and the largest in student enrollment, which stands at around 31,600.

Home to many noted figures, it represents one of Germany’s historic and traditional institutions. As of October 2020, 44 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the University of Göttingen as alumni, faculty members or researchers.

The University of Göttingen was previously supported by the German Universities Excellence Initiative, holds memberships to the U15 Group of major German research universities and to the Coimbra Group of major European research universities. Furthermore, the university maintains strong connections with major research institutes based in Göttingen, such as those of the Max Planck Society(DE) and the Leibniz Association [Leibniz-Gemeinschaft or Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz](DE). With approximately 9 million media units, the Göttingen State and University Library ranks among the largest libraries in Germany.