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Higgs Boson Supposedly Should Have Made the Universe Collapse following Big Bang

Jun 24, 2014 12:30 PM EDT
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BICEP2 telescope
The famed Higgs boson, the particle that makes up all matter, supposedly should have made our Universe collapse right after the Big Bang, according to British cosmologists. Pictured: BICEP2 telescope in Antarctica.
(Photo : Steffen Richter, Harvard University)

The famed Higgs boson, the particle that makes up all matter, supposedly should have made our Universe collapse right after the Big Bang, according to British cosmologists.

Based on the latest observations from the BICEP2 telescope in Antarctica, as well as the actual discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 - a finding that was recently confirmed, and described in a Nature World News report - researchers predicted that the Universe should not have lasted for more than a second.

The beginning of the Universe started with the Big Bang, according to the widely accepted theory, and it is thought to have gone through a short period of rapid expansion known as "cosmic inflation." The details of this process remain unknown, but cosmologists have been able to make predictions of how this would affect the Universe we see today.

Since the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland detected the Higgs boson in July 2012, researchers have learned more about this mysterious particle, and its contributions to the inner workings of the Universe.

Measurements taken 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 kept from falling into it by a large energy barrier.

This prediction is complicated by observations from the BICEP2 collaboration from March 2014. Researchers claimed their findings support the notion 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 what they call a "Big Crunch."

"This is an unacceptable prediction of the theory because if this had happened we wouldn't be around to discuss it," study leader Robert Hogan of King's College London said in a news release.

It's possible that BICEP2 made an error in its observations, but if not, that means some other unexplained force is keeping the Universe afloat.

Hogan will present the new research on June 24 at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth.

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