World Bulletin / News Desk
Scientists are still sorting out the details of last year's discovery of the Higgs boson particle, but add up the numbers and it's not looking good for the future of the universe, scientists said Monday.
"If you use all the physics that we know now and you do what you think is a straightforward calculation, it's bad news," Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, told reporters.
Lykeen spoke before presenting his research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston.
"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," said Lykken, who is also on the science team at Europe's Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator.
Physicists last year announced they had discovered what appears to be a long-sought subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, which is believed to give matter its mass.
Work to study the Higgs' related particles, necessary for confirmation, is ongoing.
If confirmed, the discovery would help resolve a key puzzle about how the universe came into existence some 13.7 billion years ago - and perhaps how it will end.
"This calculation tells you that many tens of billions of years from now, there'll be a catastrophe," Lykken said.
"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," Lykken said, adding that the event will unfold at the speed of light.
Scientists had grappled with the idea of the universe's long-term stability before the Higgs discovery, but stepped up calculations once its mass began settling in at around 126 billion electron volts - a critical number it turns out for figuring out the fate of the universe.
The calculation requires knowing the mass of the Higgs to within one percent, as well as the precise mass of other related subatomic particles.
"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.
Earth will likely be long gone before any Higgs boson particles set off an apocalyptic assault on the universe. Physicists expect the sun to burn out in 4.5 billion years or so, and expand, likely engulfing Earth in the process.
Facebook will appeal a date privacy ruling in Belgium that forces the social media giant to stop collecting digital information about people who are non-members
Japanese, Chinese, Irish scientists win 2015 Nobel prize in medicine for malaria and parasite research
Discovery could have major implications for pursuit of life on the red planet
Lawsuit sheds light on no poaching policy at Silicon Valley’s biggest companies
Searches for oncoming storms will display information such as maps, forecasts, reminders and preparedness instructions
New service unveiled as survey finds Americans having hard time navigating smartphone etiquette
Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea bid total of over €1.14 billion for the right to use frequencies on the new network
Petition 'will present at least two substantial questions concerning design-patent liability and damages'
The Istanbul Electric Tram and Tunnel Company plans to launch one solar-powered bus on Thursday and several more in the coming days
Roughly 70 million tonnes of fibres are traded globally per year, but nearly two thirds are made from non-renewable products like petroleum and natural gas.
Researchers havfe said that the flaw leaves data stored by apps vulnerable with almost every category of app considered vulnerable
SpaceX revealed Monday that it is building a test track for the Hyperloop, a concept for ultra-fast ground transport the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, unveiled.
Biologists have created chicken embryos with dinosaur-like faces by tinkering with the molecules that build the birds' beaks.
Product available for pre-order in nine countries but devices won’t ship for weeks.
Nobel Prize-winning scientists' discovery can be manufactured cheaper thanks to Nanografi process.
Most industry experts expect the first product of 5G technology in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.