Ms. P.H. sent this interesting article from the U.K.'s Daily Mail. It seems that Stephen Hawking has crunched some numbers and concluded that at a certain threshold the Higgs boson could destroy...well...the entire universe:
Finding the 'God' particle could destroy the universe, warns Stephen Hawking
Now, fortunately, Professor Hawkings reassures us that no one has built a planetary-sized particle accelerator big enough to set this boson baking "big bang" into motion:
"The professor did add sarcastically, however, that such an event is unlikely in the near future.
"He said: 'A particle accelerator that reaches 100bn GeV would be larger than Earth, and is unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate.'"
But there's a problem here and I hope the reader will have caught it, for a few weeks ago I reported on another development in the wonderful world of fairy tale physics that some physicists have been dismayed over the results of the Large Hadron Collider experiments, and their inability to find not only the Higgs, but several other particles predicted by the theory.
In fact, you'll recall that some physicists are upset enough that they are starting to propose even more radical theories, by removing dimensionality from their equations, particularly where length and gravity are concerned. Again, imagine removing the four-dimensional Einstein-Minkowski dimensional metric(measure) from General Relativity, or the Planck Length from quantum mechanics, and you get the idea of how radical some of these proposals really are. (see THE HUNT FOR THE HIGGS: REVIEWING THE STANDARD MODEL).
You'll recall from that blog the following statements:
"The new scale symmetry approach rewrites the beginning of that story. ‘The idea is that maybe even the Higgs mass is not really there,’ said Alessandro Strumia, a particle physicist at the University of Pisa in Italy. “It can be understood with some dynamics.”
“'The concept seems far-fetched, but it is garnering interest at a time of widespread soul-searching in the field. When the Large Hadron Collider at CERN Laboratory in Geneva closed down for upgrades in early 2013, its collisions had failed to yield any of dozens of particles that many theorists had included in their equations for more than 30 years. The grand flop suggests that researchers may have taken a wrong turn decades ago in their understanding of how to calculate the masses of particles.'"(Emphasis added)
Let's go further back in LHC history to the period just before they "turned it on." You'll recall that some concern was voiced in Germany about the whole experiment, predicting similar dire consequences if they "turned it on." The concerns were overridden of course, and the device was indeed turned on...
... then just as quickly turned off. We were told at the time that the LHC had experienced a rupture in one of the cooling wraps around the large magnets. At the time, I publicly expressed some doubts about this explanation (on George Ann Hughes' The Byte Show
) and proposed that the LHC scientists may have encountered some phenomenon that starkly challenged some of their assumptions, a view perhaps corroborated to some extent by the developments outlined in my blog THE HUNT FOR THE HIGGS: REVIEWING THE STANDARD MODEL
So what do we have? It appears at the minimum we have an obfuscated story, one beginning with vaguely expressed misgivings prior to the LHC being activated(see for example If The Large Hadron Collider Produced A Microscopic Black Hole, It Probably Wouldn't Matter
, or an even more strange and bizarre list of pre-activation concerns here: German court rules that Large Hadron Collider cannot produce black holes, physics agrees
), then quickly turned on, and then back off, and a story that is obfuscated thereafter: did they find the Higgs, or not? Some say yes, some say no, but even on a "yes' interpretation, there remains the thorny problem that they have not found a lot of other things predicted by the standard model.
So hence my high octane speculation of the day. What if, for example, Professor Hawking's threshold of Higgs instability is much lower?
Or, as the THE HUNT FOR THE HIGGS: REVIEWING THE STANDARD MODEL
story suggests, what if they discovered something (which they're not yet talking about) which suggests to some scientists that the equations of their standard model need to be recast without things like "dimensionality" and metrics being a factor. What if the "tear" in the coolant mechanism in the LHC that was reported as the reason it was so quickly shut down after its initial activation was a tear of a very different
sort? Then there was the strange case of the science fiction series Flash Forward
which seems to have been based, in part, on these types of ideas. In the series, a large particle accelerator (and in the book of the same title upon which the original series is based, precisely the LHC), is turned on, and the entire world population, with a few significant exceptions, blacks out for 137 seconds (fine structure constant enthusiasts take note!), causes chaos and upheaval around the planet, and most people jump forward in time while blacked out to see their future. The series - in this blogger's opinion an entertaining one - was cancelled after only one year due to low ratings.
These are all "what ifs"... and huge ones at that. The bottom line for me is that the recent stories surrounding the LHC, the Higgs, and the new theories convince me that CERN has clamped a large veil of security over at least some aspects of what they've been finding. Either that, or the scientists involved in any degree are not entirely forthcoming, floating this balloon and that theory, while the real concerns may all be being quietly voiced by huddled heads over coffees in the cafeterias. And maybe we've been given some glimpses of the concerns from Hawkings et al.
There may be, in other words, a murkier story going on behind the scenes.
See you on the flip side...