Where did the matter in the universe arise from?


Where does the matter in the universe come from if there was nothing before the big bang?

In: 4

There wasn’t nothing before the big bang.
There is no “before” the big bang.

Its hard to imagine but the big bang was literally the start of time itself.

We live in a world where time is a constant.
Its something we literally cant imagine not existing.
But when you look out into space you see that time isn’t as rigid as we feel it is.
Time speeds up and time slows down.

Time had a starting point and that was the big bang

And its the same for matter.
Matter came from the big bang too

Imagine you’re a piece in a game of Monopoly. Everything you know about the universe must be deduced from the rules of the game as it is being played – you can’t ‘see’ the game from outside. After a while, our perspective as a piece lets us figure out many of those rules. We know we can only move so far and the probability distribution of that movement. We know we try to avoid certain places and that hitting certain places makes us jump to certain other places.

Now let’s add a house rule: whenever you land on Free Parking, the game ends and now you’re playing Chutes and Ladders with no memory of your previous existence in Monopoly.

As before, you can try to intuit the rules of Chutes and Ladders by observation as a piece moving around the game.

What you can’t do is figure out the rules of Monopoly because those rules no longer apply and you have no memory of them.

That piece is us. We can only examine the rules of the game we’re playing right now. We can’t examine the rules of some previous game we can’t observe. So it’s not that ‘nothing’ came before so much that ‘nothing knowable’ came before.

Looking at some of the comments I ( not in any way an expert) get the feeling that people are sometime looking at this from the wrong perspective perhaps. It’s not that we are starting with whatever we define as the big bang and moving forward but that we are observing the universe now (and further back in time through telescopes) and *extrapolating* backwards to earlier states.

What we see now (expansion and background radiation) tells is that the universe was once smaller and denser ( but it was still *all* there was and even possibly infinite in some sense , I think). If we extrapolate far enough we might presume a singularity of infinite mass in a infinitely tiny point *but* as far as I am aware scientists are not all convinced that is necessarily actually real. We can also observe conditions now that are best explained by an early massive and fast inflation.

We are limited in our ability to describe the earliest conditions because , if I have it correctly, the laws of physics we know break down and we can’t work our way beyond the Planck Epoch to say anything reliable. We theorise that at some point time itself is no longer a useful concept along with our ideas of ‘before’ or even causality as we know it.

As far as where that energy/mass came from we can only speculate with hypotheses. But it’s have considered , I think, that it may in some way just have existed , or been some sort of inevitable quantum event , or be a product of a wider multiverse from which universes kind of foam up. I have read one who considered that quantum physics suggests that infinite universes are a sort of potential and those which have certain possible conditions must resolve into actual existence.

But the answer is really *we don’t know* – but it’s probably at least too simplistic to say there was *anywhere* for it to come *from* and certainly wrong to suggest there was a *nothing* or indeed that there was a *before* in any way we normally mean by those words. So unfortunately and frustratingly perhaps , your question itself just may not make sense when we consider the earliest universe. But I would say that for some reason we seem to have some natural preconceptions that we can’t actually rely on such as existence of something being somehow unlikely when maybe it just is the only possibility.

Apologies in advance to anyone more knowledgeable than me who spots an egregious error or miscommunication.

Edit: sorry I really didn’t think about the ELI5 aspect but perhaps hopefully my last substantial paragraph covers that?