New to this tour in physics? Start at THE BIG BANG.
Electroweak symmetry breaking and the quark epoch, from Wikipedia:
“Between 10–12 second and 10–6 second after the Big Bang
As the universe’s temperature falls below a certain very high energy level, it is believed that the Higgs field spontaneously acquires a vacuum expectation value, which breaks electroweak gauge symmetry. This has two related effects:
1 The weak force and electromagnetic force, and their respective bosons manifest differently in the present universe, with different ranges;
2 Via the Higgs mechanism, all elementary particles interacting with the Higgs field become massive, having been massless at higher energy levels.
At the end of this epoch, the fundamental interactions of gravitation, electromagnetism, the strong interaction and the weak interaction have now taken their present forms, and fundamental particles have mass, but the temperature of the universe is still too high to allow quarks to bind together to form hadrons.”
1. Popularly a boson is a force-carrying particle.
2. Now all four forces are separated, the universe has mass, as the Higgs mechanism has started. And the universe has only existed in 1/million’th of a second.
What is the Higgs field and what is a hadron???