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Does the Higgs Boson Reveal Our Universe's Doomsday? 421

Posted by Soulskill
from the keep-calm-and-carry-on dept.
astroengine writes "If calculations of the newly discovered Higgs boson particle are correct, one day, tens of billions of years from now, the universe will disappear at the speed of light, replaced by a strange, alternative dimension one theoretical physicist calls boring. '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. This has to do with the Higgs energy field itself,' Joseph Lykken, with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., said. 'This calculation tells you that many tens of billions of years from now there'll be a catastrophe.'"
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Does the Higgs Boson Reveal Our Universe's Doomsday?

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  • Get in line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @04:58PM (#42949077)

    Jesus rapturing us up, meteors wiping us out, the sun expanding into a red giant, the heat death of the universe--take your goddamn pick.

  • Re:Get in line (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:02PM (#42949121)

    You forgot 'us blowing ourselves up'. That one's much more imminent than the rest of them combined.

    (The captcha on this one is 'practice' - strangely fitting)

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:05PM (#42949151)

    What is your proposed solution? Abandon modern science and move back into caves? Call me up when you get ANY traction on that plan.

  • Re:Not a problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:06PM (#42949169)

    This post shows a distinct lack of knowledge about the subject.

    Whether or not reincarnation is real, the idea is that people get reincarnated as people and any sort of living creature that exists. So, there's no need to be enough humans at any given time for the idea to hold, as long as there are enough living things. What's more it's been accepted theory for many centuries that only a very small fraction ones incarnations are as humans, most of the time it's as things like ants and spiders.

    Or, that's the theory anyways, reincarnation is really more of a framework than a thing. It's not intended to be the driving force for ones life, just a framework for understanding how to live life in the context of the greater picture. You don't burn down the world because previous generations didn't and you have an obligation to future generations as well.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TFAFalcon (1839122) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:06PM (#42949181)

    How do you know we don't want to enter it? It could just as easily be the best thing that ever happened to mankind. And how would stopping discoveries help to fix the world? Help it revert back to the dark ages (after fossil fuels run out)?

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:08PM (#42949209)

    Can't we just stop this discovery period and go about fixing the current issues in the world.

    Ignorance is a "current issue".

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:10PM (#42949233)

    At some point the "hunt" for these special quantum particles is going to go to far and lead us into an area we as of now don't know we don't want to enter. Can't we just stop this discovery period and go about fixing the current issues in the world.

    What? Are you seriously proposing that we stop doing scientific research? Yes, of course, what happens 10 billion or more years from now is completely irrelevant to us as individuals. It might be relevant to our species, however, and the physics behind it is relevant always. Pretty much all of our technology is based on research like this that was once considered merely of academic interest. Who knows, maybe we could discover how to travel to other galaxies by manipulating the Higgs field. We won't know until we try. And it's improbable that anything we invent will be all that much worse than the nuclear or chemical weapons that already exist.

    And it's not a dichotomy: we don't have to stop physics research to solve all our current issues in the world. In fact, it wouldn't even help to do so. At all.

  • Theory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:15PM (#42949301) Homepage Journal

    What's more it's been accepted theory for many centuries

    It would appear that you don't know what the word "theory" means. You used it where you more properly should have used "ridiculous, evidence free, superstitious presumption."

    You're welcome. :)

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bamberg (9311) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:16PM (#42949303)

    Nope. This kind of discovery, pushing the frontiers of knowledge, is the only thing we as a species do that's of any value. Spending all of our effort trying to "fix[...] the current issues of the world" would just drag us down to the lowest common denominator.

    Let the current issues of the world fix themselves or die trying.

  • Re:Crap! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:22PM (#42949379) Journal
    You could do worse than nothing. Often they do the wrong thing instead.
  • Re: Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:27PM (#42949445) Homepage

    It's a fun bit of trivia that draws headlines and can be used to talk to kids about the destruction of the sun, death by meteor, and other fun apocalypses. And who knows: maybe Boson Degredation can be detected somehow, like carbon dating.

    Science isn't supposed to be useful. That's engineering. Science is supposed to be insightful in unexpected ways, leading to more understanding.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:29PM (#42949473)

    There's a very good chance that solving how to prevent the end of the universe, or how to survive in/after it, will produce some very other interesting things as a side effect. That's how science works.

  • Nay doomsayer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rmdingler (1955220) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:35PM (#42949547)
    I am so tired of the 'Mankind's existence is valueless' bravado. We are a billion to one galactic coincidence that has risen to sentient thought and self-awareness. This astronomical concurrence alone is worthy of continuance. If we finally evolve beyond primal tribal and religious bickering, we can get on with off planet settlements... and we have still a cushion of ten billion years to settle other galaxies.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:52PM (#42949755) Homepage Journal

    Can't we just stop this discovery period and go about fixing the current issues in the world.

    Ignorance is a "current issue".

    Perhaps, but ignorance of events that will have absolutely zero effect on anyone living now, or any time into the foreseeable future? I'm fine with that.

    Meanwhile, millions of children the world over continue to struggle just for enough food to keep them alive, every day. I think it's plainly obvious that is the sort of "current issue" OP was referring to. Granted, it appears their premise is that we may very well, someday, discover something that is generally bad for humans, and that I don't agree with, but they do have a point about focusing energy and finances on discoveries that will impact life on Earth today, instead of wasting manpower and finances on discoveries that will probably never have any impact on humanity.*

    So, pardon me if your "discoveries-of-shit-that-won't-happen-until-long-after-humanity-is-completely-extinct" don't excite folks such as myself as much as you might like.

    * I'm certain there are many here who actually think we humans will still be around in 10,000,000,000 years. To those folks, I make the following request: Stop watching so much science fiction, and start talking to some evolutionary biologists. They'll set ya straight.

  • by NatasRevol (731260) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @06:38PM (#42950337) Journal

    We've had primal tribal & religious bickering our entire existence.

    What makes you think we can get beyond that?

    Also, there's several trillion planets in our galaxy alone. And 200 billion galaxies.
    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2013/01/05/how-many-planets-are-in-the-universe/ [scienceblogs.com]

    If we're a billion to one coincidence, we're not all that unique.

  • Chance unknown (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roger W Moore (538166) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:52PM (#42952045) Journal
    Correct, with a 100 billion stars in the galaxy and hundreds of billions of galaxies billion to one odds will have occurred 100 times in our galaxy alone. However I dispute that we have any clue how likely intelligent life is. For all we know every habitable zone planet we have found, and perhaps some of the non-habitable zone ones too, have life. Or the odds of life may be so overwhelmingly unlikely we are alone. We simply have no clue and can only make mildly educated guesses based on assumptions that could be wrong.
  • by Tom (822) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @05:51AM (#42954227) Homepage Journal

    (sorry for double-posting, a stray tag ate most of the first reply)

    Once a human, always a human.

    Individual, yes. Species change. Well, unless you're one of the insane people who deny evolution, climate change, reason and using your brain.

    You mix up species, classes, families and other levels of classification as if they were the same thing.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_classification [wikipedia.org]

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