Celebrating the Big Bang Theory’s 50th birthday, scientists in Finland have run the first 3-dimensional simulation of the first seconds of the famous explosion, to investigate the effect the newly born Higgs field would have had, and have discovered it has loud repercussions.
The Higgs field is what gives most particles their mass, and is generated by the Higgs Boson, the last particle to be discovered in our current physics model which we use to explain the universe.
However, when the universe had just appeared, and new particles were being created with it, they didn’t have mass at first. It was only 100 picoseconds later that the Higgs field was turned on and mass appeared.
Of course, this sudden change in the composition of the universe (from having no mass at all to being filled with it), would have had a noticeable effect. It could be thought that the field started acting evenly around the universe, but a theory suggests that Higgs fields were generated in bubbles that started spreading in random areas (like bubbles in boiling water), growing and giving mass to any particles they happened to engulf.
But what happened when two bubbles collided? This is question (and the consequent answer) that has real implications.
When interacting with each other, the bubbles would have caused a disturbance in the space-time
fabric, causing a series of ripples of gravitational waves, which are unfortunately too weak for us to detect. But they would’ve also released large amounts of energy to the particles, therefore creating shock waves or sonic booms. These would then be translated into low rumbles that would have subsequentially caused more gravitational waves. These two sets of waves, when joined together, could gain enough force for us to eventually detect them, although not with our current technology. We will have to wait until we develop more sensitive detectors that are capable of detecting these waves until we can finally approve this theory.