A Puff of Logic | by Brian Koberlein



25 June 2014

There’s been a number of science headlines just lately stating that “Scientists Declare Universe Shouldn’t Exist.” Which I suppose means we must always all simply vanish in a puff of logic, or (derp) the scientists have mentioned one thing silly once more. Evidently, “scientists” have mentioned no such factor, and what has been mentioned is an fascinating enterprise into cutting-edge theoretical physics. The favored press articles are primarily based on a paper printed in Bodily Overview Letters, which seems to be at potential connections between the Higgs subject (of Higgs boson fame) and early inflation presumably noticed by BICEP2. The authors took the mass of the Higgs boson as decided by the LHC (which is a measure of the power of the Higgs subject) and the worth of inflation as measured by BICEP2 (which is a measure of the power of inflation within the early universe). They then analyzed what would occur based on our present understanding of early cosmology. What they discovered is that given these two values, early cosmic inflation may create quantum fluctuations robust sufficient to trigger the Higgs subject to break down. This is able to successfully collapse the universe, therefore the headlines.

A potential collapse of the Higgs subject is one thing we’ve identified since its discovery. It stems from the truth that quantum programs don’t all the time need to settle of their most steady configuration. They will as an alternative discover themselves in a regionally steady state (often called a metastable state). We see this, for instance, with electrons in an atom. The steady state of an electron in an atom is its lowest potential vitality degree, however an electron will be in a better vitality degree for some time. Finally it might drop to a decrease vitality degree, which releases a photon. This impact is why we see line spectra in stars and interstellar clouds.

The Higgs appears metastable.
Luboš Motl
The Higgs seems metastable.

Given the plenty of the Higgs boson and the highest quark, the Higgs subject appears to be in a metastable state. If the highest have been extra large, it might be unstable, and if the Higgs have been extra large, it might be steady. This truth is usually expressed by the assertion that the universe may collapse into a brand new quantum state at any second, however that’s a complete different subject. This new paper merely calculates that given present values it might appear the universe ought to have collapsed throughout inflation.

This tells us there’s something mistaken with our mannequin, and there are a number of prospects. One is that the measurements are off in some way. The BICEP2 outcomes (if legitimate) give a price for inflation that’s stronger than anticipated. If the inflationary interval was weaker, then that might be an answer. Given the weak spot of the BICEP2 consequence, it’s fairly seemingly that the inflation worth is mistaken. An alternative choice is that inflation is just mistaken, however that isn’t seen as very seemingly.

The authors take a look at one other risk, that in some way the Higgs subject and inflation are linked. This concept has been examined earlier than, however this new paper demonstrates that such a connection may resolve the issue of early collapse. So what this paper really does is level within the course of latest physics. Higgs pushed inflation may resolve some actual issues within the mannequin, and that provides us motivation to discover issues additional.

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