Defect formation in the early universe
Topological defects are common in many everyday systems. In general, they appear if a symmetry is broken at a rapid phase transition. In this article, I explain why it is believed that they should have also been formed in the early universe and how that would have happened. If topological defects are found, this will provide a way to study observationally the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang, but their apparent absence can also tell us many things about the early universe.