Monday, March 4, 2013


We were all warned that the gigantic atom smashing gadget run by CERN would destroy the world, and those of us who did the warning were dismissed as cranks and scientific know-nothings.

But with the likely unveiling of the Higgs Boson last year, we might very well have been proven right -- only instead of destroying the world, this latest discovery might signal the destruction of everything in existence.

Scientists have run models trying to determine the ultimate fate of the universe but those models have always had a little fuzziness to them because certain fundamental factors -- like the mass of the theorized-but-then-unknown Higgs Boson -- were not determined. But if last July's discovery is the Higgs Boson, and its mass is something like the predicted value, then we're in a lot of trouble. Or at least our descendants, some billions of years from now, will be.

The most likely mass for the Higgs is pretty much smack on the nose to make the universe fundamentally unstable. That means it might just go bang sometime. and not in the way it did at the start. This bang will be a game over kind of condition. If the mass figure of the Higgs is slightly different, though, the universe is not unstable and you can worry about coming to your end the way that sort of thing usually happens: one at a time.

But as the researcher points out, there's really no reason to worry about this event either. Wherever it started -- if it hasn't already -- it would come at you at the speed of light, meaning it would literally be over before we knew it.

That means no time to say, "I told you so," which seems to me like a real shame.

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