For generations, physicists were sure the laws of physics were perfectly symmetric. Until they weren't.

Symmetry is a tidy and attractive idea that falls apart in our untidy . Indeed, since the 1960s, some kind of broken symmetry has been required to explain why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe—why, that is, that any of this exists at all.

But pinning down the source behind this existential symmetry violation, even finding proof of it, has been impossible.

Yet in a new paper published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, University of Florida astronomers have found the first evidence of this necessary violation of symmetry at the moment of creation. The UF scientists studied a whopping million trillion three-dimensional galactic quadruplets in the universe and discovered that the universe at one point preferred one set of shapes over their mirror images.

This idea, known as parity symmetry violation, points to an infinitesimal period in our universe's history when the laws of physics were different than they are today, with enormous consequences for how the universe evolved.

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