Stephen Hawking has joined the chorus of physicists that believe the so-called “God Particle” has the potential to destroy the universe.
Higgs boson is an elementary particle which gives everything in the universe mass. It’s crucial to the existence of everything. “The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100bn gigaelectronvolts (GeV),” Hawking writes in the preface of Starmus, his new collection of lectures. If that happened, it’s possible 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, the phrasing “could happen anytime” is a bit misleading since creating energies at that level would require, “A particle accelerator… larger than Earth, and is unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate.” Rest easy, everybody! In a world where New York landlords take 10 years to fix basic building code issues, we will not be building anything the size of the planet Earth soon.
For a man who is almost single-handedly responsible for getting the layman masses interested in theoretical physics, Hawking has been a bit of a bummer in recent years. In 2010, Hawking gave a disappointing prediction regarding aliens landing on Earth: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
Back in May this year, he also warned that artificial intelligence would be very dangerous for mankind, if it were allowed to make improvements to itself. Hawking believes it might grow to see the human race as a problem and start killing us. In his brilliant appearance on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, Oliver asked Hawking, “I know you’re trying to get people to be cautious there, but why should I not be excited about fighting a robot?”
“You would lose,” replied Hawking.
Good to see Professor Hawking isn’t so much becoming cynical in his old age, he’s just developing a very dark sense of humor. (Photo: Aero-News Network)