How did the universe's elements form?

"Instead, the universe was just a sea of more fundamental particles, called quarks and gluons, seething in a raw plasma state."

My observation. I did not see how even earlier times in cosmology created this *raw plasma state*. Consider the inflaton, how did the inflaton create quarks and gluons?
 
I don't think the inflation created anything, it is just a debate over expansion coefficient. Here is what happened, they looked at the size of the quantum fluctuations at the first instant in time of the BB and saw a certain size of fluctuation in a certain size of Universe.
Then they looked at the size of the Universe today as compared to the size of today's fluctuations and they said: "This does not add up!". The fluctuations today are way, way smaller that what would have predicted based on how much smaller the variations become as things stretch out.
THUS: The Universe must have done a lot more expansion than we thought thus it must have been very much smaller at the start than we thought, thus there must have been a period of great expnsion we shall call "Inflation".
That's as I understand it.
 
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Yes, IIRC, quarks came after Inflation where temperatures were still too high for quarks. Inflation is estimated at ending at 10E-35 sec., though hard science can only address time to 10E-12 sec.

It was Guth, primarily, who stepped in to address two new challenges BBT presented as time was extrapolated backwards. These were the “horizon“ and ”flatness” problems.

BBT is baseed on nearly pure homogeneity. But quantum science near t=o requires a far less degree of uniformity. But the CMBR is smooth to 1part in 100,000, too smooth for what we should see.

Also, the universe is almost perfectly in balance where gravity is equally offset by the expansion force,

Inflation happens to solve both of those problems, apparently.

But, when something that is crazy hard to test gets tossed into a theory to fix problems, it can be deemed as ad hoc. Alternatives, no doubt, to Inflation are welcome.

What’s important, IMO, is how much we’ve discovered that has revealed just how fine-tuned our universe is, as if by design, allowing stars to form. elements to be manufactured, planets to form, and life to come forth.
 
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Ignoring the microcosmic Planck (the macrocosmic Big Bang) singular level 'Horizon' of the cosmic aren't we.

In Chaos Theory, in fractal zoom universe structure (geometric progression structure (square matrix)), the dimensional horizon of seamlessly smooth simplicity alternates in onion skin layering with the dimensional horizon of chunky grained complexity, a single constant existing all at once of set and spontaneous reset to infinity. A Schrodinger function of one and the other / one or the other.

Hawking described in 'A Brief History of Time' a life zone of universe where life is always -- forever -- in migration to stay in the life zone ("Grand Central Station"). A sort of forever moving hyperspatial constant of (Tolkien-like) 'Middle Earth' 'middle universe' (chunky complexity level) bracketed (smooth simplicity level). The twain is twain but blends in 'Horizon' as we do in Earth's horizon but with a big difference.

Related . . . if one can see it:

 
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In the illustration of the wormhole in the URL pointed to in my post #5, keep the sheet going, keep the folds going, and keep the piping going through of the wormhole, to infinity. The wormhole, in the case I presented above, encompasses the entire 'middle universe' of Hawking's description of the migrating life zone and migration of life, and my own description of keeping constant to the dimensional horizon fractal zoom universe structure of chunky grained complexity . . . receding horizon to receding horizon, to receding horizon..., (middle universe to middle universe, to middle universe....). A sheet of endlessly (spontaneous) emergent beginning (seamlessly smooth simplicity) and a nice big wormhole middle universe (fractal zoom universe structure, set and reset) of endless life zone in an endless frontier of chunky grained complexity. Each stratum! a continuum of strata!

Set and reset via hyper-wormhole, sort of like an endless frontier into itself of a 'Klein bottle'!
 
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