British cosmologists are puzzled: they predict that the Universe should not have lasted for more than a second. This startling conclusion is the result of combining the latest observations of the sky with the recent discovery of the Higgs boson. Robert Hogan of King’s College London (KCL) will present the new research on 24 June at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth.
The problem is that the BICEP2 results predict that the universe would have received large ‘kicks’ during the cosmic inflation phase, pushing it into the other valley of the Higgs field within a fraction of a second. If that had happened, the universe would have quickly collapsed in a Big Crunch.
“This is an unacceptable prediction of the theory because if this had happened we wouldn’t be around to discuss it” said Hogan, who is a PhD student at KCL and led the study.
So, for once, reality as we experience it counts for something? A good beginning. Well no, really, a good reboot.
Meanwhile, ya gotta love this title:
Higgs boson looks even Higgs-ier:
Now, researchers working with the mammoth CMS particle detector at the LHC have seen the Higgs decaying into fermions—either two tau leptons (above), heavier cousins of the electron, or two bottom quarks, beefy cousins of the up quarks and down quarks that make up protons and neutrons. Reported online yesterday in Nature Physics, the result strongly suggests that, as it lurks “virtually” in the vacuum, the new particle is the universal mass giver that the Higgs is supposed to be.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).