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Chapter 17 Summary - M17_BENN0885_05_SE_C17.qxd 9:43 AM...

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17.1 The Big Bang • What were conditions like in the early universe? The early universe was filled with radiation and elementary particles. It was so hot and dense that the energy of radiation could turn into particles of matter and antimatter , which then collided and turned back into radiation. • What is the history of the universe according to the Big Bang theory? The universe has been through a series of eras, each marked by unique physical conditions. We know little about the Planck era , when the four forces may have been unified. Gravity became dis- tinct at the start of the GUT era , which may have ended with the rapid expansion called inflation . Electromagnetism and the weak force became distinct at the end of the electroweak era . Matter particles annihilated all the antimatter particles by the end of the particle era . Fusion of protons and neutrons into helium ceased at the end of the era of nucleosynthesis .
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