New Higgs Boson Research Suggests End-Date to Universe

By Colleen Lynch February 19, 2013

Some people live in the past, some in the present, and some are obsessed with the future--but is anyone concerned with the future tens of billions of years from now?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Scientists at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston, led by theoretical physicist Joseph Lyyken from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, presented research suggesting that contrary to popular belief, the universe will not exist forever.

The research has to do with the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that is believed to give mass to matter. According to the new research, the Higgs boson’s precise mass--which has yet to be calculated--could be proof of an end-date to our universe by revealing its instability.

“Many tens of billions of years from now, there’ll be a catastrophe. A little bubble of what you might think of as an ‘alternative’ universe will appear somewhere and then it will expand out and destroy us,” explained Lyyken.

Of course, this theory is still just that--a theory. Lyyken does not, however, seem too optimistic.

“If you use all the physics that we know now and you do what you think is a straightforward calculation, it’s bad news,” he said.

The way this will work is through a phenomenon known as vacuum instability, which is a quantum fluctuation that would create a comparatively smaller universe than our own, which would then expand at the speed of light, eliminating our own universe completely and replacing it.

In order to figure out whether this theory is in fact the reality, scientists have to conduct further research, but Chris Hill, a professor at Ohio State University who is also invested in this research, says they are very close.

“Before we knew, the Higgs could have been any mass over a very wide range. And what’s amazing to me is that of all those possible masses from 114 to several hundred GeV, it’s landed at 126-ish where it’s right on the critical line and now we have to measure it more precisely to find the fate of our universe.”

The strange finding is that the difference is so strikingly small.

"You change any of these parameters to the Standard Model (of particle physics) by a tiny bit and you get a different end of the universe," Lyyken said.

Previously, research around the Higgs boson was focused on figuring out how the universe began, but now scientists are realizing that an equally important puzzle this particle could solve will be how our universe will end.

Despite the answer being tantalizingly close, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which discovered the particle in the first place, is currently shut down for maintenance and repairs, and won’t be in use again until 2015.




Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

GENBAND & Sonus Go Dutch for Merger

By: Maurice Nagle    5/23/2017

Mergers and acquisitions are the norm in business. However, it's not every day that two major cloud communications players with highly complementary o…

Read More

The Killer App for VR: The Ability to Meet Yourself

By: Rob Enderle    5/23/2017

I was at a VR event this week, and I'm sure the speaker misspoke when he said that one of the benefits of VR is the ability to meet yourself. But the …

Read More

WannaCry Ransomware Holds Files Hostage: Best Practices to Avoid Being a Victim

By: Special Guest    5/23/2017

More than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries were crippled by a massive ransomware attack, dubbed WannaCry, and security experts warned that…

Read More

LeoSat Secures Japanese Investment for Enterprise Broadband Satellite Network

By: Doug Mohney    5/23/2017

Another broadband satellite cloud network moved closer to reality this month, with LeoSat securing an investment from SKY Perfect JSAT (SJC) Corporati…

Read More

Organizations Can Combat WannaCry & Jaff Ransomware With Well Instrumented DNS

By: Special Guest    5/22/2017

The Infoblox Intelligence Unit observed two global malware outbreaks on Friday, May 12. Although there is no indication that the two attacks were rela…

Read More