Finite lifespan for universe, subatomic calculations indicate
Scientists had grappled with the idea of the universe's long-term stability before the Higgs discovery, but stepped up calculations once its mass began settling in at around 126 billion electron volts - a critical number it turns out for figuring out the fate of the universe.
The calculation requires knowing the mass of the Higgs to within one percent, as well as the precise mass of other related subatomic particles.
"You change any of these parameters to the Standard Model (of particle physics) by a tiny bit and you get a different end of the universe," Lyyken said.
Earth will likely be long gone before any Higgs boson particles set off an apocalyptic assault on the universe. Physicists expect the sun to burn out in 4.5 billion years or so, and expand, likely engulfing Earth in the process.(Editing by David Adams and Todd Eastham)
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