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About fourteen billion years ago, the universe leaped into existence in a cataclysmic event called the" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:" aria-label="Big Bang">Big Bang. Our universe began small and then expanded to its present cosmic dimensions. Scientists have long wanted to know the conditions of the universe in the earliest fractions of a second, but have been stymied by the billions of years of evolution in the interim. However, a group of researchers have" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:" aria-label="employed a supercomputer">employed a supercomputer that will allow them to turn back the clock and determine what the universe looked like at the moment of its birth.

The best current understanding of the nature of the universe shortly after it began is that it was a small, hot, and dense, sea of energy.  This energy bath was nearly uniform throughout the cosmos of the time. However, because of the laws of quantum mechanics, there were tiny fluctuations in the distribution of energy, with certain locations having slightly more energy than normal and other locations having slightly less. The location and amount of energy variations were random. 

Einstein’s equation E = mc2 tells us that mass and energy are equivalent, so those regions of small excesses of energy evolved into regions with a small excess of mass. And since gravitational forces are caused by mass, those regions had slightly stronger gravity than the regions that had less energy when the universe began. Over the billions of years, gravity then amplified the effect, with the regions with a small excess of mass gathering mass from regions those regions that started out with a small mass deficit.

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