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Not with a bang but with a whimper

It’s humbling enough that I need the New York Post to explain to me the meaning of an article in the journal Physics Review D, but even worse that I then rely on aol to break down the New York Post’s summary.  According to Addreassen et al. (2018), they have produced “the first complete calculation of the lifetime of our Universe: 10∧139years. With 95% confidence, we expect our Universe to last more than 1058years.”  Now, that sounds like something I might have come up with, but they did it after producing “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.”  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have gone to that much trouble.  So, what does it all mean?  As the NYP breaks down, “the end of our universe will come with a sudden bang rather than a slow demise,” and, “all it would theoretically take is for a fundamental particle — the Higgs boson — to become destabilized, unleashing a huge energy bubble that will swallow up everything in its path, leaving nothing but a dark void.”  Or, as aol simply states, “What would follow is an explosion of energy that would destroy everything in the universe.”  However, this seems to be a way off yet, so I’ll probably still have to clean the house this weekend.

Speaking of nuclear physics and life-ending disasters, it’s nice to see that things are back to normal at Fukushima.  Lovers strolling hand-in-hand, stealing furtive glances past their respirators as they pass beneath the cherry blossoms.  Hmm, maybe the Higgs boson thing should just get on with it.

fukushima cherry blossoms
Source: Kyodo News



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