The long-sought Higgs boson might doom our universe to an unfortunate end, researchers say. The mass of the particle is a key ingredient in a calculation that predicts the future of space and time.
"This calculation tells you that many tens of billions of years from now there'll be a catastrophe," says Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. "It may be the universe we live in is inherently unstable, and at some point billions of years from now it's all going to get wiped out."
The Higgs boson particle is a manifestation of an energy field pervading the universe called the Higgs field, which is thought to explain why particles have mass. After searching for decades for proof that this field and particle existed, physicists at the LHC announced in July 2012 that they'd discovered a particle whose properties strongly suggest it is the Higgs boson.