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The world could end as abruptly as it began, warn experts.
All it would theoretically take is for a fundamental particle — the Higgs Boson — to become destabilised, unleashing a huge energy bubble that will swallow up everything in its path, leaving nothing but a dark void, reported News.com.au (Australia).
In a new study by Harvard, physicists suggest the end of our universe will come with a sudden bang rather than a slow demise.
The shockwaves would severely disrupt physics, chemistry, and life as we know it.
But there’s no need to panic just yet — scientists say the Earth-shattering disruption may not take place for a long time.
Specifically, it could occur 10x139 years from now — or 10 million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years.
The experts estimated our universe’s expiration date based on its size and the speed of destruction.
But they did leave an alarming footnote: the process may have already begun.
In fact, we have no way of knowing if the Higgs Boson collapses — or if it’s already collapsed — because if the universe is infinitely large the particle could be infinitely far away.
And by the time we find out, it could already be too late.
One way this could happen, according to professor Ruth Gregory at Durham University, is if the massive curvature of space-time around a black hole acted as a catalyst for a Higgs collapse.
The gradual end of the Universe is predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics.
It theorises that dark energy is driving the expansion of the universe that will keep going until everything turns into a cold, featureless abyss.
The new study, published in the journal Physical Review D, flips this thinking on its head by saying that the death of the universe will be instant rather than phased out.
It all comes down to the Higgs boson: the particle that gives all matter its mass.
In 2012, researchers at the Large Hadron Collider said they had discovered the Higgs boson (also known as the “God particle”), after 18 months spent smashing sub-atomic protons together at high-energy in the particle accelerator.
The particle’s mass is believed to be 125 gigaelectronvolts — a measure of energy used in particle accelerator physics.
Experts claim that the current mass of the Higgs boson may one day be altered.
Should this happen, it could rip apart all of the elements that make life in our universe possible.
This could create an ever-expanding bubble of negative energy that gobbles up our entire universe.
The doomsday theory was previously floated about by Stephen Hawking and physicist Joseph Lykken from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
“It turns out we’re right on the edge between a stable universe and an unstable universe,” said Lykken.
“We’re sort of right on the edge where the universe can last for a long time, but eventually, it should go ‘boom.’ “
And that boom may have already begun.
show source http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/space/universe-could-be-destroyed-by-huge-energy-bubble-and-scientists-warn-process-may-have-begun/news-story/debd620dde9abf1168af838da9d42822