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Higgs boson will aid in creation of the universe - and how it will end

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 20th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

With the discovery of the Higgs boson, the "God particle" last year, scientists have scrambled to see if it will unlock the universe's many mysteries. Researchers are hoping to unlock the ominous particle to see how the universe began - and more likely than not, how the universe will end.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Don't worry. The end of the universe won't come for tens of billions of years. When it does happen, however it will destroy everything, according to researchers studying the Higgs boson particle. "If you use all the physics that we know now and you do what you think is a straightforward calculation, its bad news," theoretical physicist Joseph Lykken says.

"A little bubble of what you might think of as an 'alternative' universe will appear somewhere and then it will expand out and destroy us," Lykken adds.

Crunching the numbers, it's not looking good for the future of the universe, scientists say.

Lykeen spoke before presenting his research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston.

"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," Lykken said, who is also on the science team at Europe's Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator.

The long-sought subatomic particle called the Higgs boson was discovered last year, which is believed to give matter its mass. If ongoing research is confirmed, the discovery would help resolve a key puzzle about how the universe came into existence some 13.7 billion years ago - and perhaps how it will end.

Scientists had grappled with the idea of the universe's long-term stability before the Higgs discovery, but stepped up calculations once its mass began settling in at around 126 billion electron volts - a critical number it turns out for figuring out the fate of the universe.

The calculation requires knowing the mass of the Higgs to within one percent, as well as the precise mass of other related subatomic particles.

"You change any of these parameters to the Standard Model (of particle physics) by a tiny bit and you get a different end of the universe," Lykken said.

Scientists assure us that the Earth will likely be long gone before any Higgs boson particles set off an apocalyptic assault on the universe. Physicists expect the sun to burn out in 4.5 billion years or so, and expand, likely engulfing Earth in the process.

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