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Scientist have announced that if the Higgs-Boson particle identified last year is real their calculations indicate that the universe will end without warning when we are destroyed by a bubble!!! According to the NBC News story "Will our universe end in a big slurp?" this prospect was a big topic of discussion at the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The article quotes Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist at Fermilab:
"If you use all the physics that we know now, and we do what we think is a straightforward calculation, it's bad news . . . It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable."
It goes on to say:
"He said the parameters for our universe, including the Higgs mass value as well as the mass of another subatomic particle known as the top quark, suggest that we're just at the edge of stability, in a "metastable" state. Physicists have been contemplating such a possibility for more than 30 years. Back in 1982, physicists Michael Turner and Frank Wilczek wrote in Nature that 'without warning, a bubble of true vacuum could nucleate somewhere in the universe and move outwards at the speed of light, and before we realized what swept by us our protons would decay away'."
Lykken puts it slightly differently:
"The universe wants to be in a different state, so eventually to realize that, a little bubble of what you might think of as an alternate universe will appear somewhere, and it will spread out and destroy us."
Somehow that phrasing doesn't make me feel better.
On the other hand, Lykken says that this alternate universe would be "much more boring" so it'll be a drag to be around afterwards anyway. Till then I'm gonna party like it's 1999.