From Live Science:
Stephen Hawking bet Gordon Kane $100 that physicists would not discover the Higgs boson. After losing that bet when physicists detected the particle in 2012, Hawking lamented the discovery, saying it made physics less interesting. Now, in the preface to a new collection of essays and lectures called “Starmus,” the famous theoretical physicist is warning that the particle could one day be responsible for the destruction of the known universe.
A curious change during my own lifetime is that “end of all things” rhetoric has moved over from religion to science. Today, churches teach “he shall come again in glory to judge” as a conventional accepted doctrine. If you are a good Christian, you are supposed to believe that, but not pry into it or act like it is imminent. In science, on the other hand…
Hawking is not the only scientist who thinks so. The theory of a Higgs boson doomsday, where a quantum fluctuation creates a vacuum “bubble” that expands through space and wipes out the universe, has existed for a while. However, scientists don’t think it could happen anytime soon.
“Most likely it will take 10 to the 100 years [a 1 followed by 100 zeroes] for this to happen, so probably you shouldn’t sell your house and you should continue to pay your taxes,” Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, said during his lecture at the SETI Institute on Sept. 2. “On the other hand it may already happened, and the bubble might be on its way here now. And you won’t know because it’s going at the speed of light so there’s not going to be any warning.”
So we know not the day nor the hour.
Modern cosmology takes on the trappings of religion, but without any moral authority. Maybe that is a feature, not a bug.
For background, see: The multiverse: Where everything turns out to be true, except philosophy and religion
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