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Theoretical physicists have just theorized an alarming proposition, a galaxy wide self-destruct button. This cosmic delete button exists in the very fabric of our fundamental understanding of nature. To be specific, it’s a quantum field known as the Higgs Field.

So, how can the Higgs field set off this cosmological self-destruct sequence? It has much to do with faking it, or at least faking its vacuum state.

To expand, let’s set the ground rules. Everything in the universe follows two fundamental principles — energy and stability. In laments terms, everything in the universe possesses energy and moves towards its most stable or lowest energy state. This is because things move from high to low energy, the most obvious demonstration of these is the force of gravity.

This (importantly) holds true even on the quantum level, applying itself to quantum fields — essentially the ultimate building blocks of our universe.

 

Vacuum decay

In principle, all quantum fields are already in their vacuum state — all except for one, responsible for giving mass to particles: The Higgs Field. There is a possibility that the Higgs field is a false vacuum. Being in a false vacuum state means that there’s a huge reservoir of potential energy waiting to be unleashed. This energy could be released as quickly and as explosively as a match on a gas spill.

What happens when it does?

Imagine that huge surge of energy, expanding at the speed of light, moving its way through the universe. This vacuum decay would consume everything in its path, erasing the known universe from existence.

 

The good news is, that this demonic ball of Higgs, might never reach us (due to the constant expanding nature of the universe). But if it ever did, life as we know it would be very much over. Not only would we undoubtedly be extinguished from history, anything that makes it to the other side will live in a very different world, with everything we know about physics thrown out the window.