1) Tiny Beginnings & The Grand Unification
In the beginning, the universe was smaller and hotter than a chili seed. Much smaller. Smaller than tiny, more miniature than microscopic, and hotter than hot. It was smaller, denser, and had more potential energy than anything else we know of throughout existence.
Inside the invisible seed, this primordial microscopic nut, the forces of nature were unified, joined into a single field by the extremely extreme conditions they found themselves in. As things began to open up, one by one, the forces of nature separated.
The first to go was the big one, the one that holds all the big things together – Gravity. It shapes our universe on a galactic scale, whilst also keeping your feet firmly on the ground. Despite the fact that it is absolutely everywhere, we still don’t fully understand it. Some think gravity is substantially different from the other forces, that it has always been a separate force in our universe, and that its effect can travel and disappear into other realities.
Whether Gravity was part of the Grand Unification or not, at some point there were three forces bound together, which we shall call the Strong Unification. But they didn’t like being squeezed together all that much, so given a little more space, a powerful member broke off from the trinity – the Strong force.
The Strong Force is called the Strong Force because it is strong. It works invisibly on the tiniest of scales, mightily binding together the atoms in every object you can see around you. Without it, everything would simply fall apart into a gloop of subatomic bits.
The Strong force’s split from the other two was something of a big deal. When it left, it unleashed unprecedented quantities of energy in all directions and set off the most important event of the ever-so-young universe. In the blink of an eye, as quick as a bursting balloon seen in reverse, the universe inflated.