There are many theories concerning the end of the universe. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/ESO
Physicists at Harvard University have suggested that the universe could end almost as abruptly as it began.
While there is no way to tell for sure how the universe will end, many scientists subscribe to the idea that it will experience an extremely long, slow demise over countless trillions of years.
According to a new study however, there is a possibility that the universe could, in the distant future, end in a rapid, destructive event triggered by a peculiar consequence of subatomic physics.
The key lies in the mass of the Higgs boson particle which, due to a quirk of quantum physics, may not always be constant. Should it change in the future, it could trigger an expanding bubble of negative energy, obliterating everything in its path and bringing about the demise of the cosmos.
"It is sobering to envision this bubble, with its wall of negative energy, barrelling towards us at the speed of light," said Harvard researcher Anders Andreassen. "We will never see it coming."
Fortunately though, such a scenario is unlikely to occur for an extremely long time.
"It turns out we're right on the edge between a stable universe and an unstable universe," said physicist Joseph Lykken from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
"We're sort of right on the edge where the universe can last for a long time."
"Eventually, it should go 'boom.'"
Source: Live Science | Comments (6)
Similar stories based on this topic:
Universe, Big Bang, Higgs Boson