Respected physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has just turned into a doomsday prophet albeit his warnings have nothing to do with the biblical fight between good and evil. The scientist is worried about the Higgs boson, also known as the God particle, potentially wiping out the Earth and even the whole universe.
Hawking once claimed that the Higgs boson, which serves as a crucial ingredient to explaining why everything in the world has mass, could not be discovered. In July 2012, however, physicists revealed that they detected the particle during experiments at the most powerful and biggest particle collider in the world, the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, in Geneva.
"The Higgs boson is one of two types of fundamental particles, and it's a particular game-changer in the field of particle physics, proving how particles gain mass," the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) explained what the particle is, on its website.
With the discovery of the particle, Hawking fear that the Higgs boson could destroy the universe given the wrong circumstances. In his upcoming book entitled "Starmus," the famous theoretical physicist said that the previously elusive particle could become dangerously unstable at energy levels of at least 100 billion giga-electronvolts.
"The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100bn gigaelectronvolts (GeV)," Hawking wrote explaining that if the particle gets to that state, it could produce a vacuum bubble that could expand at the speed of light and eventually cause the collapse of space and time. He also said that this catastrophe could happen anytime and no one would even see it coming.
Hawking is not alone in his views of the potential dangers of the particle as some scientists have already theorized of the possible implications of the Higgs boson last year. Physicists, however, do not think that doomsday could likely happen soon.
Theoretical physicist Joseph Lykken, from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois said in his Sept. 2 lecture at the SETI Institute that it will likely take 10 to 100 years before the Higgs boson doomsday could happen.
Hawking also said that the 100 billion giga-electronvolts that could trigger the end of everything would require a particle accelerator that is larger than the size of the Earth. Fortunately, the construction and development of such a massive accelerator is something that is currently not possible.
At the moment, the world's most powerful accelerator, the LHC, which was built by the CERN, has only managed to smash particles at 3.5 tera-electronvolts per beam.