No Need To Fear Universe Ending In ‘Collision With Bubble Of Nothingness’(False Vacuum Collapse Of Higgs Boson)

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This is an article in New Scientist that’s being shared in social media which says it is a new caclulation of the way forward for the Universe in line with the idea of false vacuum. It’s scaring many individuals as a result of whenever you learn it so far as it goes, earlier than it’s important to pay to learn, it doesn’t give a timeline, so that they assume it may occur any second. Also, as a result of it says “there’s an opportunity” that it has already collapsed in a distant nook of the cosmos. I am penning this as a part of a collection of posts to assist individuals terrified of false or exaggerated doomsdays, which frequently get to the highest of Google, Apple News and Facebook trending and are learn by many individuals who do not know take them together with kids as younger as 14 and typically a lot youthful. They can get very scared about these tales, have panic assaults and are typically suicidal as a result of they can not bear the worry.


First, the timescale is trillions upon trillions of years into the longer term, many occasions over. An enormous timescale arduous for many to understand..

As for the “likelihood” that it is already collapsed, mathematicians and physicists have a wierd mind-set about likelihood and chance in comparison with most individuals. They can work out a “likelihood” for something together with a potato immediately leaping off a grocery store shelf and hitting you

Do you assume there is a “likelihood” that the minute you open your eyes tomorrow morning your home might be hit by three simultaneous planes on completely different flights, and in the identical minute you might be hit by three impartial meteorites coming from completely different instructions on the similar time, and in the identical minute hit by two lightning strikes? That’s roughly equal to what they imply by “there’s an opportunity”. It’s frankly inconceivable (in non mathematical language). In addition many physicists assume that the idea might be false and can result in new physics to elucidate why it might’t occur.


Here is the preview:

“The Higgs boson may destroy the universe. There’s an opportunity this particle has collapsed in a distant nook of the cosmos, producing a bubble of increasing vacuum vitality that would envelop us all.

The finish of time and area as we all know it’s predicted by the usual mannequin of particle physics, a theoretical framework describing all recognized particles and forces. Playing out these interactions to their logical finish, researchers have discovered essentially the most exact estimate of the lifetime of our universe ever made. The …”

The universe may end in a collision with a bubble of nothingness

If you share it in social media the preview says the Higgs boson may destroy the universe in 10139 years, an oddly particular sounding variety of years:

When you click on via the preview doesn’t give any time interval so many are assuming it’s going to finish in somewhat over 10,000 years.

Actually the determine is 10139 years, ten to the ability 139, or 1 adopted by 139 zeroes.

Or 10 million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years

(with eleven “trillion”s)

That’s an unlimited timescale virtually inconceivable to understand.

This is the paper itself:

“We produce the primary full calculation of the lifetime of our universe: 10139 years. With 95% confidence, we count on our universe to final greater than 1058 years. The uncertainty is a component experimental uncertainty on the highest quark mass and on as and half idea uncertainty from electroweak threshold corrections” [1707.08124] Scale Invariant Instantons and the Complete Lifetime of the Standard Model

So you would possibly fear then, since they’ve solely 95% confidence that it lasts 1058 years, i.e. there’s a 5% likelihood it ends immediately? No, that 5% is for his or her uncertainty about whether or not it lasts greater than

100 trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years


They do counsel that concept by speaking about

“There’s an opportunity this particle has collapsed in a distant nook of the cosmos”

But mathematicians and physicists have a wierd mind-set about “likelihood” no less than by the way in which most individuals take into consideration this matter.

Would you say that there’s a “likelihood” potato within the grocery store shelf will leap off it and hit you within the head?

Well – ask a physicist and he can work out a quantity which is the “chance” of this occurring. A potato is made up of atoms and molecules and they’re all jiggling due to it’s heat – something until it’s at absolute zero is like that. And the route of the jiggles is random. Because it’s manufactured from a staggeringly huge variety of molecules, then the random motions all cancel out and it simply sits nonetheless on the shelf. But if all of them occurred to jiggle in the identical manner in your route then theoretically sure, it might leap off the shelf and hit you.

A physicist can work out numbers for something. Even whether it is as absurd as a potato leaping off the shelf like that. He or she will work out a quantity for that too.

If you ask most individuals if it may occur – effectively the reply is simply no. We aren’t used to working with numbers on this manner – until you prepare as a mathematician then even simply saying it’s “unlikely” doesn’t come anyplace close to to explaining it correctly. I believe for most individuals it’s extra correct to say that it’s simply inconceivable for a potato to do this. It’s like – it’s far nearer to “inconceivable” than to most individuals’s concept of “unlikely”.

Basically regardless of all of the calculations a physicist might do – a potato can’t really leap up within the air – you don’t have to take steps to guard your self from leaping potatoes :).

You don’t want to fret that considered one of these potatoes will leap within the air and hit you within the part due to random jostling of its molecules. Even should you requested a physicist in regards to the likelihood of a leaping potato – she or he would provide you with a 1 in one thing sort likelihood of it occurring. They can try this for essentially the most inconceivable and albeit inconceivable issues, they’ll nonetheless work out numbers for them.

Potatoes – Wikimedia Commons

The related half for us if you’re worrying about it occurring now, is their equation 1.68.

They work out the chance that we’d have encountered a vacuum bubble already. It is de facto tiny. 1 in someplace between 10107 and 10718. That is for the whole age of the universe so far, or 13.eight billion years


This analogy might assist.

It’s not like a danger of being hit by lightning. That’s far too more likely to be a great analogy. We merely have no atypical issues we fear about which can be something like as unlikely.

Do you assume that whenever you get up tomorrow morning that within the very minute you open your eyes your home might be hit by three completely different planes on separate flights, you’ll be hit by three separate meteorites that hit you, and additionally, you will be hit by a lightning strike too? All in that one minute, all occurring to you, no one else, and all tomorrow, and no different day or minute?

Calculation to point out that is roughly equal:

(20 million * 365*100*24*60)^3 * (280,000*365*100*24*60) *(1.6 million *365*100*24*60)^3 = 10^100 (barely over)

(really we aren’t fairly there, want one other 10 to the ability 7- and I am assuming a mean lifetime of 100 years for these dangers, that 100 ought to most likely be extra like 80 – so to make it precisely equal we would want so as to add one other 1 in 330 lifetime danger occurring in the identical minute).

That is what it might be like for the false vacuum to occur a while within the final 13.eight billion years age of the universe. Like all these issues occurring tomorrow within the very minute you open your eyes.

If you wish to work out what it might be like for it to occur, say, within the subsequent 100 million years, fairly than the following 13.eight billion years, then make it the identical analogy however with two simultaneous lightning strikes.

If you prepare as a physicist or mathematician you discover ways to work out possibilities for something. So lengthy as it’s bodily attainable, nonetheless unlikely and most of the people would say flat out inconceivable, then you’ll be able to work out a quantity for it. So, you can work out a quantity for the “likelihood” of all these issues occurring in the identical minute.

I believe you may be fairly assured you aren’t going to have two simultaneous lightning strikes, three separate meteorites and three separate planes all hitting your home all in the identical minute whenever you open your eyes tomorrow morning? In the identical manner, I believe we may be fairly assured in saying that is not going to occur to you? Even although you’ll be able to work out a quantity to say what the prospect is and it will likely be a particular quantity and never zero.

It is inconceivable (talking in non mathematical language).

It’s like that.


There are plenty of loopy sounding concepts put out by astrophysicists and most of them are more likely to be not simply loopy sounding however really false. Indeed they’ll’t all be proper and even most of them as a result of they contradict one another.

This is a kind of concepts and it’s a significantly puzzling one to be true as a result of it’s arduous to see how our universe may exist in any respect whether it is true.

That’s as a result of astronomers assume that way back the whole seen universe was packed right into a tiny area the dimensions of the cost radius of a proton – nucleus of hydrogen atom and earlier than that packed into a fair smaller area. How may it have prevented that, in such excessive situations, if it was in a false vacuum state?

A bit extra background. The vacuum in our universe would possibly appear to be in its lowest attainable vitality state, however idea is that it’s really metastable – that it may collapse to a fair decrease vitality state if nudged in the fitting manner.

This exhibits the thought, how if someway we may very well be nudged over that hump within the Higgs potential we’d fall down the opposite facet into one other state which might have completely different legal guidelines of physics from those we take pleasure in now. We wouldn’t survive that transition. It would possibly go to a different secure state or simply fall endlessly altering all the way in which with no closing state.

If the one different out there minimal is increased than our present one then ours is a secure state and we don’t want to fret a few nudge sending our universe into one other state. But if it’s a decrease stage than ours then in precept we may very well be nudged over the hill because it had been into that decrease state so then our present state is metastable.

Viewpoint: Are We on the Brink of the Higgs Abyss?

It’s clearly a not possible factor to occur as a result of our Universe has stayed as it’s for practically fourteen billion years with nothing like this occurring. But is it in any respect attainable?

So the factor is that the soundness depends upon the mass of the Higgs boson. And after they discovered it, with the LHC, they calculated that our universe is perhaps fully secure, or it is perhaps that it’s metastable with this decrease vitality state out there. It is simply on the sting, in line with customary particle physics.

So that bought physicists rethinking this query – if our universe is metastable then simply presumably there could also be a way it may collapse right into a decrease vitality state. It’s a fairly tutorial query given the huge timescale on which it might occur. So that’s the place this calculation is available in.

Because this concept of a universe in a false vacuum state appears unlikely, the thought is used typically as a motivation for brand new physics. In explicit

  • If there may be darkish matter that has mass like atypical matter via the Higgs discipline it might’t occur.
  • If supersymmetry is right it might’t occur.
  • If we’ve a couple of Higgs boson it might’t occur.

Here is Professor John Ellis speaking about it:

He is saying he thinks because of this we want new physics, as a result of in any other case why did not the universe get out of the false vacuum within the early universe when it was a lot hotter? He thinks that the brand new physics is supersymmetry and that we’ve an opportunity to search out this with the following run of the LHC. In different phrases he thinks that curve graph is flawed.

Some astrophysicists say essentially the most pure solution to perceive that is that the idea must be false and subsequently there should be new science to find. That’s no shock as everybody agrees that our present understanding of the universe is incomplete with many issues but to find.


Some of chances are you’ll discover this quote useful:

“So if we comply with our understanding of the Standard Model, mixed with our greatest measurements, it seems that we dwell in a metastable universe that would at some point disappear with out warning. You may be forgiven should you take that pronouncement as a cause to take pleasure in some kind of uncommon deal with tonight. But earlier than you splurge an excessive amount of, take heed of some phrases of warning. Using the identical Standard Model we used to determine whether or not the cosmos is metastable, we will predict how lengthy it’s more likely to take for quantum mechanics to let the universe slip from the metastable valley to the secure one, and it’ll take trillions of years. Mankind has solely existed for about 100,000 years, and the solar will develop to a purple big and incinerate the Earth in about 5 billion years. Since we’re speaking in regards to the universe present as a metastable state for trillions of years, perhaps overindulging tonight is perhaps a nasty concept.”

from: Fermilab Today – it’s a great article to learn, glorious clarification of what metastable means.

See additionally Will the Higgs Boson Destroy the Universe???

And this BBC information story explains it fairly effectively for atypical folks Cosmos may be ‘inherently unstable’ – BBC News

Also this one by Pauline Gagnon is nice: Quantum Diaries

For extra debunks like this see the: List of the articles in my Debunking Doomsday blog to date

If you need assistance – touch upon any of those posts or message me on Facebook or Quora.

Also our Facebook group Doomsday Debunked has been set as much as assist anybody who’s scared by these faux doomsdays.

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