The Higgs boson, the mysterious particle that lends different particles their mass, may have saved our universe from collapsing. And its properties is likely to be a clue that we stay in a multiverse of parallel worlds, a wild new principle suggests.
That principle, wherein completely different areas of the universe have completely different units of bodily legal guidelines, would recommend that solely worlds wherein the Higgs boson is tiny would survive.
If true, the brand new mannequin would entail the creation of recent particles, which in flip would clarify why the sturdy pressure — which finally retains atoms from collapsing — appears to obey sure symmetries. And alongside the best way, it may assist reveal the character of darkish matter — the elusive substance that makes up most matter.
Associated: What’s the Higgs boson? God particle defined
A story of two Higgs
In 2012, the Massive Hadron Collider achieved a very monumental feat; this underground particle accelerator alongside the French-Swiss border detected for the primary time the Higgs boson, a particle that had eluded physicists for many years. The Higgs boson is a cornerstone of the Commonplace Mannequin; this particle offers different particles their mass and creates the excellence between the weak nuclear pressure and the electromagnetic pressure.
However with the excellent news got here some dangerous. The Higgs had a mass of 125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), which was orders of magnitude smaller than what physicists had thought it ought to be.
To be completely clear, the framework physicists use to explain the zoo of subatomic particles, often known as the Commonplace Mannequin, does not truly predict the worth of the Higgs mass. For that principle to work, the quantity needs to be derived experimentally. However back-of-the-envelope calculations made physicists guess that the Higgs would have an extremely massive mass. So as soon as the champagne was opened and the Nobel prizes have been handed out, the query loomed: Why does the Higgs have such a low mass?
In one other, and initially unrelated downside, the sturdy pressure is not precisely behaving because the Commonplace Mannequin predicts it ought to. Within the arithmetic that physicists use to explain high-energy interactions, there are specific symmetries. For instance, there may be the symmetry of cost (change all the electrical expenses in an interplay and all the pieces operates the identical), the symmetry of time (run a response backward and it is the identical), and the symmetry of parity (flip an interplay round to its mirror-image and it is the identical).
In all experiments carried out to this point, the sturdy pressure seems to obey the mixed symmetry of each cost reversal and parity reversal. However the arithmetic of the sturdy pressure don’t present that very same symmetry. No recognized pure phenomena ought to implement that symmetry, and but nature appears to be obeying it. What offers?
A matter of multiverses
A pair of theorists, Raﬀaele Tito D’Agnolo of the French Different Energies and Atomic Power Fee (CEA) and Daniele Teresi of CERN, thought that these two issues is likely to be associated. In a paper printed in January to the journal Bodily Overview Letters, they outlined their answer to the dual conundrums.
Their answer: The universe was simply born that means.
They invoked an concept known as the multiverse, which is born out of a principle known as inflation. Inflation is the concept within the earliest days of the Large Bang, our cosmos underwent a interval of extraordinarily enhanced growth, doubling in dimension each billionth of a second.
Physicists aren’t precisely certain what powered inflation or the way it labored, however one outgrowth of the essential concept is that our universe has by no means stopped inflating. As an alternative, what we name “our universe” is only one tiny patch of a a lot bigger cosmos that’s continuously and quickly inflating and continuously popping off new universes, like foamy suds in your bathtub.
Totally different areas of this “multiverse” may have completely different values of the Higgs mass. The researchers discovered that universes with a big Higgs mass discover themselves catastrophically collapsing earlier than they get an opportunity to develop. Solely the areas of the multiverse which have low Higgs plenty survive and have secure growth charges, resulting in the event of galaxies, stars, planets and ultimately high-energy particle colliders.
To make a multiverse with various Higgs plenty, the workforce needed to introduce two extra particles into the combination. These particles can be new additions to the Commonplace Mannequin. The interactions of those two new particles set the mass of the Higgs in several areas of the multiverse.
And people two new particles are additionally able to doing different issues.
Time for a take a look at
The newly proposed particles modify the sturdy pressure, resulting in the charge-parity symmetry that exists in nature. They might act loads like an axion, one other hypothetical particle that has been launched in an try to clarify the character of the sturdy pressure.
The brand new particles do not have a task restricted to the early universe, both. They may nonetheless be inhabiting the present-day cosmos. If considered one of their plenty is sufficiently small, it may have evaded detection in our accelerator experiments, however would nonetheless be floating round in area.
In different phrases, considered one of these new particles could possibly be answerable for the darkish matter, the invisible stuff that makes up over 85% of all of the matter within the universe.
It is a daring suggestion: fixing two of the best challenges to particle physics and in addition explaining the character of darkish matter.
May an answer actually be this easy? As elegant as it’s, the idea nonetheless must be examined. The mannequin predicts a sure mass vary for the darkish matter, one thing that future experiments which are on the hunt for darkish matter, just like the underground facility the Tremendous Cryogenic Darkish Matter Search, may decide. Additionally, the idea predicts that the neutron ought to have a small however probably measurable asymmetry within the electrical expenses throughout the neutron, a distinction from the predictions of the Commonplace Mannequin.
Sadly, we’ll have to attend awhile. Every of those measurements will take years, if not a long time, to successfully rule out — or assist – the brand new concept.
Initially printed on Dwell Science.