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You can't pull a quark out of a hadron, but at time $T = 10^{-43}$ seconds or shortly thereafter, when all particles were created, wouldn't all quarks be individual, and not grouped into hadrons, (which I assume at those energy levels couldn't form)?

Could any of those stand alone quarks still be by themselves today?

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As Wikipedia says, the physics during the Planck epoch is not well understood. But we can say that the density of matter (and of energy) at that time was extremely high. It's not like there were isolated free quarks floating around in space. They were all packed very tightly together in the quark-gluon plasma.

Once the temperature fell sufficiently for hadrons to exist, the quark-gluon plasma "froze", which rapidly confined the quarks into hadrons. There could not be any stand-alone quarks that somehow managed to remain free.

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No, due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly observed or found in isolation; they can be found only within hadrons. There is an article about this on Wikipedia.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the link. $\endgroup$ Apr 20 '20 at 0:07

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