Should the Higgs boson have caused our Universe to collapse?

Jun 24, 2014
Our Universe lies in a ‘valley’, which sets the behaviour of the Higgs boson. A deeper valley also exists, but our Universe is prevented from entering it by a large ‘hill’. During the early period of cosmic inflation, the BICEP2 results imply that the Universe would have received a ‘kick’ into the other valley, causing it to collapse in less than a second. Credit: Robert Hogan, Kings College London

(Phys.org) —British cosmologists are puzzled: they predict that the Universe should not have lasted for more than a second. This startling conclusion is the result of combining the latest observations of the sky with the recent discovery of the Higgs boson. Robert Hogan of King's College London (KCL) will present the new research on 24 June at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth.

After the Universe began in the Big Bang, it is thought to have gone through a short period of rapid expansion known as 'cosmic inflation'. Although the details of this process are not yet fully understood, cosmologists have been able to make predictions of how this would affect the Universe we see today.

In March 2014, researchers from the BICEP2 collaboration claimed to have detected one of these predicted effects. If true, their results are a major advance in our understanding of cosmology and a confirmation of the , but they have proven controversial and are not yet fully accepted by cosmologists.

In the new research, scientists from KCL have investigated what the BICEP2 observations mean for the stability of the Universe. To do this, they combined the results with recent advances in particle physics. The detection of the Higgs boson by the Large Hadron Collider was announced in July 2012; since then, much has been learnt about its properties.

Measurements of the Higgs boson have allowed particle physicists to show that our universe sits in a valley of the 'Higgs field', which describes the way that other particles have mass. However, there is a different valley which is much deeper, but our universe is preventing from falling into it by a large energy barrier.

The BICEP2 telescope in Antarctica, seen at twilight. The telescope has led to significant new results on the early universe. The Keck Array telescope and the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station can be seen in the background. Credit: Steffen Richter, Harvard University.

The problem is that the BICEP2 results predict that the universe would have received large 'kicks' during the cosmic inflation phase, pushing it into the other valley of the Higgs field within a fraction of a second. If that had happened, the universe would have quickly collapsed in a Big Crunch.

"This is an unacceptable prediction of the theory because if this had happened we wouldn't be around to discuss it" said Hogan, who is a PhD student at KCL and led the study.

Perhaps the BICEP2 results contain an error. If not, there must be some other, as yet unknown, process which prevented the from collapsing.

"If BICEP2 is shown to be correct, it tells us that there has to be interesting new particle physics beyond the standard model" Hogan said.

Explore further: Blogger claims BICEP2 team acknowledging possible error in discovery of evidence of gravitational waves

More information: This research has been published in Fairbairn & Hogan, 2014, Physical Review Letters 112, p201801. A preprint is available on the arXiv server.

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daggaz
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 24, 2014
Perhaps that did happen, nearly an infinite number of times. If the 'energy kicks' are stochaistic (as one might reasonably expect), perhaps our reality is the one instance where, quite probabilistically, the universe did not receive enough energy at the right time, and has then survived to expand into its present configuration. All the other instances resulted in a Big Crunch and subsequent Big Bang.

Perhaps we are all flying the Heart of Gold, and an infinite improbability drive truly is the core of our cosmological reality.
Doiea
Jun 24, 2014
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Doiea
Jun 24, 2014
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Doiea
Jun 24, 2014
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Dr_toad
Jun 24, 2014
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Job001
2 / 5 (4) Jun 24, 2014
What is predictable is that assumptions are inevitably incorrect and the conclusion shall be "More research is needed".
eric_in_chicago
1.7 / 5 (7) Jun 24, 2014
Observe, the Dense Aether Model of the Infinite Vacuum in the brains of flaky leftists that make up pseudo-science that is actually more painful to attempt to comprehend than traditional religion.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2014
…All the other instances resulted in a Big Crunch and subsequent Big Bang.

Perhaps we are all flying the Heart of Gold, and an infinite improbability drive truly is the core of our cosmological reality.
;
They say in the end it's the wink of an eye. Maybe each instance just seems to take forever? One thing's certain: as far as we can see, there's no scarcity of spacetime. [/philo]

At least we're all in agreement: the standard model is incomplete despite its many successes. I think that regardless of whichever theory turns out to be the valid extension, to understand it will still require learning the standard model, just as we have to learn Newtonian mechanics to understand general relativity. [/physics]

No shortage of theories; it's the scientific data we need more of. Hopefully when we're done killing each other with our nationalistic yet fully financed globalized war machines, there will be a few of us left to continue the work. [/politics]
SoylentGrin
5 / 5 (5) Jun 24, 2014
infinite improbability

Alright, so most universes collapse.
We would never be in one of those.
You could even propose that most universes' constant values wouldn't allow for life to form.
We would never be in one of those either.

100% of universes we could be in look a lot like this one, then.
100% isn't long odds, or even improbable.
Doiea
Jun 24, 2014
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Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (5) Jun 24, 2014
(string theory approach, which is too flexible in a given moment)

That's actually pretty funny, if ya think about it...
(strings... too flexible...)
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (1) Jun 24, 2014
But for physicists it's advantageous to ignore every opportunity for unification of their models, as it allows them to continue in their independent research.

Are you saying that with reconciliation there will be nothing left to know or discover? How do you know it all about knowing it all? I'm not saying monetarism doesn't corrupt things until it collapses whence it gets bailed out and sold as new and improved. I'm saying there will still be more to learn and discover after the standard model is reconciled with the geometry of spacetime.
otero
Jun 24, 2014
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otero
Jun 24, 2014
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otero
Jun 24, 2014
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Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (8) Jun 24, 2014
Sigh. First the BICEP2 observation must be repeated before acceptance, no matter the validity of the current criticism. Then the metastability of the Standard Model vacuum must be tested beyond the current 2 sigma constraint (e.g. the vacuum may be stable).

And that won't happen even with the next LHC round I hear - it is a difficult observation. It may have to await a new collider decades in the future:

"Although experiments at the LHC are expected to improve the determination of Mt, the error on the top mass will remain as the largest source of uncertainty. If no new physics other than the Higgs boson is discovered at the LHC, the peculiarity of having found that the SM parameters lie at the critical border between stability and metastability regions provides a valid motivation for improved top quark mass measurements, possibly at a linear collider." [From http://arxiv.org/...7v2.pdf, referenced by the paper.]
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.5 / 5 (8) Jun 24, 2014
[ctd]

So yes, interesting, but not of near term practical utility.

The references notes the self-criticality signature on the vacuum parameters, which would give a self-organizing solution akin to how a sandpile gets a specific angle due to criticality avalanches. A weak anthropic solution in other words, as we then don't life in the few universes that are not like the norm.

[I reported the aether crackpot. It's most of the thread! As if we needed more evidence for Dunning-Kruger...]
Dr_toad
Jun 24, 2014
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otero
Jun 24, 2014
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Uncle Ira
2.9 / 5 (7) Jun 24, 2014
As if we needed more evidence for Dunning-Kruger
Of course not. Just the silly people, who can only censor, report and downvote instead of arguments can believe, they're most qualified for it. BTW My PO posts are http://www.reddit...ics_AWT, you can discuss them freely there.


@ Socratic-Skippy how you are Cher? So you got up and running on the reddit again? Maybe I sign up again so we can talk some more over there, just like the old times podna Laissez les bons temps rouler Skippy.

Over there are you going to still be the new Socratic-Skippy or you going to be the Zephir-Skippy again? So I know who to look for and who is only pretending to be the Zephir-Skippy to make you the misere. Will I be allowed to be the Zephir-fan-Skippy again or does that other couyon still keep that from when he stole him from me? He don't talk like me so you will be able to tell the real Ira-Skippy from him. See you there bon Cher.
Bob Osaka
not rated yet Jun 24, 2014
OK, so if BICEP2 is right, the Universe collapsed after a second. What does that tell you?
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Jun 25, 2014
OK, so if BICEP2 is right, the Universe collapsed after a second. What does that tell you?


Persistant illusion. Einstein nailed it.
George_Rajna
Jun 25, 2014
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Rustybolts
1 / 5 (3) Jun 25, 2014
"Perhaps the BICEP2 results contain an error. If not, there must be some other, as yet unknown, process which prevented the universe from collapsing."

That simple just throw out the stupid Big Bang theory and problem is solved.
AmritSorli
1 / 5 (2) Jun 25, 2014
Higgs boson carring mass and inflation phase of the universe are "collaps" of good reasoning in physics.
This are all a-priory models with no experimental data.
http://article.sc...3.11.pdf
OceanDeep
1 / 5 (2) Jun 25, 2014
One second in whose time frame? What if that initial second is taking the lifetime of the universe from our perspective to kick us "over the hill" into the collapse?

Johnpaily
1 / 5 (3) Jun 26, 2014
Yet another shock from physicist- it is time we figure out the fundamental and how the particle is designed to create spin, have mass and produce the angular momentum. It is time we figure out how the particles organize into system and survives through information unfolding and enfolding. http://www.scribd...g-Origin
mohammadshafiq_khan_1
Jun 26, 2014
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Graeme
2 / 5 (2) Jun 28, 2014
The BICEP2 results are what they are, but what is likely wrong is the conclusion about inflation. There are quite a few possible ways for this to go wrong.
Returners
2.5 / 5 (2) Jun 28, 2014
infinite improbability

Alright, so most universes collapse.
We would never be in one of those.
You could even propose that most universes' constant values wouldn't allow for life to form.
We would never be in one of those either.

100% of universes we could be in look a lot like this one, then.
100% isn't long odds, or even improbable.


Assuming 100% is more than just 1 requires a conjecture.
Returners
1 / 5 (4) Jun 28, 2014
OK, so if BICEP2 is right, the Universe collapsed after a second. What does that tell you?

Possibilities:
1, Mainstream theories are wrong.
2, Mainstream theories are wrong.

infinity, Mainstream theories are wrong.
chrisn566
1 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2014
God particle,indeed. I'm not a religious man,but as Einstein said....quite the clockmaker.
bullsballs
1 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2014
that's deep, ocean...
George_Rajna
Jun 30, 2014
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