BBC, By Jonathan Amos, February 19
Scientists say they may be able to determine the eventual fate of the cosmos as they probe the properties of the Higgs boson.
A concept known as vacuum instability could result, billions of years from now, in a new universe opening up in the present one and replacing it.
It all depends on some precise numbers related to the Higgs that researchers are currently trying to pin down.
“It turns out there’s a calculation you can do in our Standard Model of particle physics, once you know the mass of the Higgs boson,” explained Dr Joseph Lykken.
“If you use all the physics we know now, and you do this straightforward calculation – it’s bad news.
That was fascinating, said Prof Chris Hill of Ohio State University, because the number was right in the region where the instability problem became relevant.
“Before we knew, the Higgs could have been any mass over a very wide range. And what’s amazing to me is that out 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 the Universe,” he said.
But we already knew that parts, at least, of the cosmos were unstable already. :->
Not to mention: A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing.