How The Higgs Boson Spells Universal Death (Maybe)

December 12th, 2011 | researchmaterial

Tomorrow, there’s to be an announcement concerning the Higgs Boson.  The viXra log has an amusing little take on the implications should the “God Particle” turn up in an awkward range:

It has been known for about twenty years that for a low Higgs mass relative to the top quark mass, the quartic Higgs self-coupling runs at high energy towards lower values. At some point it would turn negative indicating that the vacuum is unstable.

In other words the universe could in theory spontaneously explode at some point releasing huge amounts of energy as it fell into a more stable lower energy vacuum state. This catastrophe would spread across the universe at the speed of light in an unstoppable wave of heat that would destroy everything in its path. Happily the universe has survived a very long time without such mishaps so this can’t be part of reality, or can it?

There is, for me, some black humour in LHC physicists spotting the Higgs signature, reading the energy value, and then slowly whispering: “…nobody move.”

I also find myself wondering what that’d look like.  Lightspeed covers, what, six billion miles a year?  Which is, very roughly, the distance from Pluto to Earth and back again.  Even if The Higgs Doom was triggered off relatively locally, we’d have plenty of time to see it coming.  This wouldn’t be a neat movie-style 2D shockwave.  Space is a volume.  This would be a stellar tsunami rushing towards us from all edges of the visible universe.

Hey.  It’s a Monday.  Sometimes I think about these things on a Monday.


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  1. You can find Warren on Twitter: @warrenellis