The Higgs boson, first theorized in 1964, was discovered by CERN researchers in 2012. This elementary particle, nicknamed “God Particle”, was the missing part of the Standard Model of particle physics for decades.
Thanks to this discovery, made possible by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), three of the four fundamental forces of nature became complete. On this subject, Stephen Hawking points out a potential danger associated with the Higgs boson in his book Starmus. According to this famous physicist, who died in 2018, the Higgs field could set off a chain reaction that is likely to lead to the destruction of the universe.
A theory that divides the scientific community
Professor Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist at the United States Department of Energy’s National Fermilab (Fermilab), believes such an event will not occur for billions of years. “There is no principle that we know will take us to the limit,” he said. It should be noted that the opinions of scientists differ on this point. For example, physicists from the University of Southern Denmark reported in an article published in the journal High Energy Physics that vacuum decay theory can occur in reality at any time.
The Higgs field, the element on which the fate of the universe is based
Everything that exists in the cosmos contains a certain amount of energy and is based on the principle of stability. In order to be stable, substances contain as little energy as possible. When the amount of energy exceeds normal, instability arises and the particle moves to give off excess energy.
Geneva / Switzerland – April 2010: European organization for nuclear research at CERN, where the Higgs boson was detected in 2012 in ATLAS and CMS experiments with the LHC accelerator. Photo credit: Shutterstock / D-VISIONS
However, the Higgs field does not behave that way. It contains energy from which it cannot be separated. This makes it a false vacuum, which is inherently unstable. According to Lykken, this instability will likely trigger the end of the universe, especially if the field absorbs more energy.
An antiparticle that could change the game?
Currently the Higgs field is in a low energy state. However, some scientists believe that it slowly goes into a high energy state. When it reaches the ultimate level of instability, it triggers an event known as “vacuum decay”.
According to Hawking, this will create a vacuum bubble that will destroy the atoms and thus everything that exists in a very short time. The only way to escape such a catastrophe would be to explore the trail of the multiverse, that is, to seek another universe for protection. But that sounds like science fiction. In either case, there are other theories that suggest the Higgs boson has a twin. This could be a game changer by preventing the Higgs Field from sealing the fate of the universe.