A proton-proton collision event in the CMS experiment producing two high-energy photons (red towers). This is what we would expect to see from the decay of a Higgs boson but it is also consistent with background Standard Model physics processes. (Photo : CERN)
The old saying that "ignorance is bliss" might just hold truer and faster at critical levels than anything else. It seems that while we may have located and started to codify the mysterious crux of mass - the Higgs boson particle - we may have indirectly elicited our own demise.
As scientists probe deeper into the nature of the Higgs boson, it turns out that there may be just be a possibility that our universe eventually spawns another universe, which replaces it. And we're not talking Invasion of the Body Snatchers here, this is a full-blown reality repo.
"What happens is you get just a quantum fluctuation that makes a tiny bubble of the vacuum the Universe really wants to be in. And because it's a lower-energy state, this bubble will then expand, basically at the speed of light, and sweep everything before it," the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory theoretician told BBC News.
So what's the deal exactly? In all honesty, even scientists aren't 100 percent sure, because while it was announced last year that there was enough evidence for the Higgs boson, the particle itself isn't an absolute truth. Instead, it was stated, that with a close-to-zero probability of failure, that the Higgs existed. What this means for consequent calculations is that there is, however small, some possibility of something happening (in academic, lofty terms: "quantum"). And this "something," in this case, is quite scary - it's the end of reality as we know it.
"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," Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, said to reporters.
"It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable and at some point billions of years from now it's all going to get wiped out."
The revelation isn't exactly groundbreaking - anything dealing with these minute quantum foundations of our reality always has the chance of blowing a gasket, and it's no wonder that something as crucial as mass has the potential to sweep out our universe's feet from under it. That is, after all, the beauty and enigma of chaos - its looming threat, yet inevitably natural move towards order, through which our lenses can comfortably focus through.
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