Pop go the stars
For our universe to produce minds, we require many different chemical elements. Those elements were created by the stars. The lighter elements fuse together and provide the energy for stars to shine, and to keep from collapsing under their own gravity. Heavier elements, anything heavier than iron, require the stars to go pop—to explode into super novas which create the rest of the heavy elements.
Here’s a page on Nucleosynthesis, the process that created the chemical elements that make up our planet, and us.
There is some debate as to exactly when the first stars formed.
Here’s a page on an estimation of when the first stars formed based on data collected by NASA’s WMap satellite.
Here’s a page with a different time, based on data collected by the European space agency’s Planck satellite.