Main Question or Discussion Point
...... and how were these then able to go on to form atoms?
Even if we assume the universe has an actual beginning (something that is not known), or that it has some point in time where the very first particles came into existence, the unfortunate answer is that we don't know how these particles would have formed. We can make models back to the very early universe, but the problem is that our understanding of physics at the extreme energy and density scales of the very early universe is very incomplete. There is no known point in time where we can look back and say with confidence that nothing existed prior to this time. Even the big bang singularity isn't really thought to exist. Instead it is likely that the singularity is an artifact of our incomplete knowledge of physics and we cannot be certain that our current theories governing subatomic particles and their interactions are complete either.Again, the question is 'How did elementary particles form? Words like <<Initially, various kinds of subatomic particles are formed in stages>> do not, frankly, cut it.
You were given precise answers. You didn’t specify anything about how how theoretical you wanted the answer, so there was no possible way for us to know that is what you wanted until now.hence the (I thought quite precise) question 'In the beginning how did the elementary particles form?' The 'answers' I have been pointed to seem too theoretical.
The first atoms of hydrogen formed when protons and electrons cooled down enough that they were slow enough that a proton could capture an electron.how were atoms of hydrogen first formed?
How could the answers be anything but 'theoretical'? We're talking about events that took place 13 billion years ago or more, and at energy scales that even the LHC can't reach yet. Despite this, they give remarkably good predictions about the composition and distribution of matter and radiation in the universe.I would call myself a practical Physicist, hence the (I thought quite precise) question 'In the beginning how did the elementary particles form?' The 'answers' I have been pointed to seem too theoretical.
I don't know what you expect. The body of knowledge science has built up over the centuries is staggeringly massive and trying to connect different pieces together and phrase the explanation in a way that people without a background in science can understand is very difficult. There's a reason why there's only a handful of people widely known for their ability to explain science without simplifying it down to the point of being wrong.heoretical Physicists, bless them, have, IMHO, gone a long way to make Physics obscure for an averagely-intelligent person. I have only ever come across one Physicist - Feynman - who could speak to the masses in a way they could understand.
Currently it is believed that hydrogen atoms were first formed during an event called 'recombination'. Prior to this point in time, the universe was far too hot for stable atoms to form and electrons, protons, helium nuclei, and a smattering of other nuclei existed together as a plasma. The expansion of the universe gradually cooled this plasma down until the temperature dropped far enough to allow the first atoms to form.Perhaps I can ask the question again, slightly differently; how were atoms of hydrogen first formed? Maybe someone could just slip in a statement about how protons and electrons were formed before hydrogen atoms.
I guess these days if you want to teach physics, you need to be a mind reader.You didn’t specify anything about how how theoretical you wanted the answer, so there was no possible way for us to know that is what you wanted until now.
Theoretical Physicists, bless them, have, IMHO, gone a long way to make Physics obscure for an averagely-intelligent person. I have only ever come across one Physicist - Feynman - who could speak to the masses in a way they could understand.
To the contrary! Theoretical physics is concerned with making physics simpler and easier to understand than a collection of empirical facts. You are right when you say that theoretical physics cannot be described by words, because the adequate language is mathematics, and accepting this and learning the actual mathematics you need to do modern physics provides great intuition about things far beyond our everyday experience, extending it into the realm of the very small (down to sub-atomic particle scales and up to huge scales of the entire universe).Theoretical physics IS obscure, counter intuitive and can’t be described in words, as a physics graduate from your 1966 finals, how many of you exam questions/answers were answered in words?
For QM and GR?
Pretty tough describing general relativity in words only and it the attempts I have read were entirely unsatisfying.
“Space tell mass how to move and mass tells space how to bend.” Does that really tell you anything?
Lots of wordy descriptions for the layman on virtual particles that turn out to be wrong because the words just don’t cut it.
Richard Feynman who you said was an exception described the atom like this, (paraphrase) “It is not like a star with orbiting planets it is not like a cloud of electrons encircling the nucleus it is like nothing you can imagine.”
I think that is a pretty unsatisfying explanation of something. What something isn’t.
Where the science/data/research stops (like at T=0) the perfectly good answer is, from what I have read on PF is “We don’t know.” (I am not one of the "we")
Or “We don’t know yet.” (I prefer that one)
It is appropriate to note that Big Bang nucleosynthesis (how did atoms form from elementary particles) a.k.a. BBN is solidly consensus cosmology whose predictions, which are derived from plain vanilla nuclear physics observed on Earth with precision, are confirmed with only minor deviation from astronomy observations that themselves have hard to quantify error bars for systemic and theoretical error. BBN is almost as far back as clear consensus on all the details of cosmology goes. You can go back to the recombination of quarks and leptons out of a quark-gluon plasma that has not yet hadronized and into protons and neutrons and still remain on solid ground with a wide consensus. You can even go back to electroweak symmetry breaking from one trillionth of a second after the Big Bang to one millionth of a second after the Big Bang. Temperatures in this consensus part of the time line are more than 100 MeV but much less than the 10 TeV needed to give rise to Standard Model sphaleron processes.
The truth of the matter is that we (meaning mainstream physics) really have no idea how baryogenesis and leptogenesis happened, and there are many competing theories, none of which has widespread support in the community of the relevant subfields of physics.Baryons are subatomic particles such as protons and neutrons, that are composed of three quarks. It would be expected that both baryons, and particles known as antibaryons would have formed in equal numbers. However, this does not seem to be what happened – as far as we know, the universe was left with far more baryons than antibaryons. Almost no antibaryons are observed in nature. Any explanation for this phenomenon must allow the Sakharov conditions to be satisfied at some time after the end of cosmological inflation. While particle physics suggests asymmetries under which these conditions are met, these asymmetries are too small empirically to account for the observed baryon-antibaryon asymmetry of the universe.