In the Beginning...
Unfortunately, in the business of creation it is not easy to find simple answers to simple questions.
For example, how did silicon come into being?
Silicon is not so simple.
So let us ask about the light elements like hydrogen, helium, lithium. Surely the scientific answer is easier for us non-professionals to understand when we can even count the protons using the fingers of one hand only?
Well, it depends who you ask.
For we are entering the field of Nuclear Astrophysics.
So let us ask the people who surely know, the ones who wrote the spectacular Cosmology - Einstein Online pages.
They have done quite a job there in the Max Plank Institute to help people using the Web to learn more about Cosmology.
Big Bang Nucleosynthesis: Cooking up the first light elements
Doctor Achim Weiss
Picture from the University of Canterbury Physics and Astronomy page
The writer of the article, Achim Weiss, is a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching near Munich, in Germany. His main area of research is stellar physics. One part of his work concerns the evolution of Lithium-plateau stars, which is important for observational tests of the predictions of Big Bang Nucleosynthesis.
Here is how this article starts - and it is as good guide an intro to the subject as any:
The big bang models - the cosmological models based on general relativity - tell us that the early universe was extremely hot and dense. At the earliest stages that can be modelled using current physical theories, the universe was filled with radiation and elementary particles - a hot plasma in which energy was distributed evenly. During the subsequent expansion, this plasma has progressively cooled down. By examining how the cooling affects the matter content of the universe, one can derive one of the most impressive testable predictions of the big bang models.
And here is how it ends
All in all, this match between theory and observation constitutes one of the big successes of the standard models of cosmology.
So we learn that the good old standard models about Cosmos are still doing well.
and that there is even an earlier stage of the Universe that cannot be modelled using current physical theories.
As the Beatles were singing in Eleanor Rigby (almost...)
"All those tiny particles
where do they all come from?"