MessageToEagle.com - Based the details of last year's discovery of the Higgs boson particle, scientists
make a statement that the universe we live in has a limited life span and will most likely be "wiped out"
billions of years from now.
One of these scientists who doesn't express optimism regarding the future of the universe is Joseph Lykken,
a theoretical physicist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.
"If you use all the physics that we know now and you do what you think is a straightforward calculation,
it's bad news," Lykken said.
A graphic showing traces of particle collisions which CERN scientists have used to prove the existance of the Higgs boson. Photo: AFP
Lykken presented his research at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science,
last Monday and made some important remarks.
"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.
Last year, physicists reported that they 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 underway, but - if officially
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 cease to exist.
"This calculation tells you that many tens of billions of years from now, there'll be a catastrophe," said Lykken,
who is also on the science team at Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and highest-energy
"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.
Knowing the mass of the Higgs to within one percent, and measuring the precise mass of other related subatomic
particles are necessary for the calculation.
"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.
It is worth noting, however, that our planet will cease to exist long before any Higgs boson particles
set off a universe-wide apocalypse, as the Sun is expected to expand into a red giant star and engulf the
planet in around 5.4 billion years.