End of the universe predicted to the day

Chris Burns - Apr 4, 2018, 4:22pm CDT
End of the universe predicted to the day

The Higgs Boson subatomic particle may yet be the end of all human life. Not necessarily because the scientists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider made a life-ending mistake smashing all the atoms – but because of an outside force. To put it all very simply: We’ve got a whole lot of time left on our hands before the universe is obliterated.

The number of years our universe is calculated to last is 10 to the 139th power. That’s 1 with 46 sets of 000s after it, or ten quinquadragintillion. That many years in the future, the universe as we know it will end. This same study suggests that the 10 to the 139th number is the largest number of years it’ll take for the universe to end. The least is 10 to the 58th power, which is 1 with 19 sets of 000s, and that’s called ten octadecillion.

So either way, you’ve got some time. The researchers behind this research suggest that they’ve done the following to figure it all out. “In a classically scale-invariant quantum field theory, tunneling rates are infrared divergent due to the existence of instantons of any size,” said the study. “While one expects such divergences to be resolved by quantum effects, it has been unclear how higher-loop corrections can resolve a problem appearing already at one loop.” With one massive number of calculations, this team “uncovered a series of loop contributions that dominate over the one-loop result and summed all the necessary terms.”

The team also explain their work as such: “We produce exact closed-form solutions for the functional determinants over scalars, fermions, and vector bosons around the scale-invariant bounce, demonstrating manifest gauge invariance in the vector case.” All that boils down to one point – how long it would take for the universe to die entirely if a particle destabilized and set off a chain reaction of destruction. It’d have to be one of those fancy Higgs Boson particles, too, mind you.

There’s also the matter of the lifespan of humanity. Assuming we don’t leave our planet and continue to attempt to cram our human bodies in amongst ourselves here on Earth – we won’t quite make it to universal apocalypse. That is, if these calculations are correct, and if there’s nothing else to consider – like gravity – in calculating the destabilization of the universe. We’ll just have to cross our fingers and wait to see!

To learn more, read “Scale-invariant instantons and the complete lifetime of the standard model” as published in the scientific publication APS Physics: Physical Review D. This paper was authored by Anders Andreassen, William Frost, and Matthew D. Schwartz, and can be found with code doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.97.056006 (that’s a URL, too.)


Must Read Bits & Bytes