Stephen Hawking is worried that technology and science may be getting out of hand. The noted physicist recently warned that artificial intelligence and aliens pose a serious threat to the human race and planet Earth, but now he’s concerned that the so-called “God particle” or Higgs Boson could become unstable and destroy the entire universe.
Scientists discovered the Higgs Boson during experiments in Switzerland with the CERN Large Hadron Collider. The particle was named after British physicist Peter Higgs, who predicted its existence in 1964. The discovery was key in explaining why objects have mass.
Hawking was skeptical of its existence from the start and was disappointed by its discovery, saying that physics is less interesting now. After much thought, Hawking now believes that the God particle is dangerous. He expressed his view in a preface to a new book called “Starmus.”
“The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100bn gigaelectronvolts (GeV),” he wrote. “This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn’t see it coming.”
However, Hawking acknowledged that this catastrophe isn’t likely to happen any time soon. After all, scientists would have to build a particle collider larger than Earth itself to reach 100bn GeV and thereby destroy the universe.
Fellow scientists have long looked at some of Hawking’s darker predictions with skepticism. Beyond the fears over alien invaders and warnings about the uprising of smart machines, he also stated in 2012 that human life has only about 1,000 years left on Earth before being wiped out by man-made viruses, according to Mic.com.
Steven Hawking is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. Among his significant scientific works have been a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set forth a cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He is a vocal supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.
The Higgs boson or Higgs particle is an elementary particle in the Standard Model of Particle physics. Its main relevance is that it is the smallest possible excitation of the Higgs field – a field that unlike the more familiar electromagnetic field cannot be “turned off”, but instead takes a constant value almost everywhere. The presence of this field explains why some fundamental particles have mass while the symmetries controlling their interactions should require them to be massless, and why the weak force has a much shorter range than the electromagnetic force.
Despite being present everywhere, the existence of the Higgs field has been very hard to confirm, because it is extremely hard to create excitations (i.e. Higgs particles). The search for this elusive particle has taken more than 40 years and led to the construction of one of the world’s most expensive and complex experimental facilities to date, the Large Hadron Collider, able to create Higgs bosons and other particles for observation and study. On 4 July 2012, it was announced that a previously unknown particle with a mass between 125 and 127 GeV/c2 (134.2 and 136.3 amu) had been detected; physicists suspected at the time that it was the Higgs boson. By March 2013, the particle had been proven to behave, interact and decay in many of the ways predicted by the Standard Model, and was also tentatively confirmed to have positive parity and zero spin, two fundamental attributes of a Higgs boson. This appears to be the first elementary scalar particle discovered in nature. More data is needed to know if the discovered particle exactly matches the predictions of the Standard Model, or whether, as predicted by some theories, multiple Higgs bosons exist, as stated in the Wikipedia.