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back to article Higgs data shows alternate reality will SWALLOW UNIVERSE

That Higgs Boson we all got excited about last year because it would reveal the mysteries of the universe? One boffin now says his analysis of the data suggests the Higgs is, in fact, an obituary for the universe. Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston yesterday, Joseph Lykken of …

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Alert

If it takes place at the speed of light, we won't see it coming.

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Paris Hilton

And I don't see why the hell we wouldn't just step over into the oncoming alternate universe when the time comes. Like passing between the passenger car and the dining car on the train?

"Oh good, look - the dessert universe is here. Let's everyone step on over and get some cake and cookies and a cup of tea now."

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Anonymous Coward

The end will be nigh when Linux on the desktop is successful....

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Coat

but then....

"...[the] event won't happen for billions of years and will take place at the speed of light, giving those of us far away from the event some time in which to put our affairs in order."

Did any of you notice that weird LHC sig...

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g e
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Joke

@Andy 'step over' Prough

Have you actually played Half-Life???

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" Let's everyone step on over and get some cake and cookies and a cup of tea now."

Except it's a Universe where the common basis for life is lead, not carbon :)

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The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

I think.

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Happy

:-D

And we can practice this by standing in a falling elevator and stepping off _just_ before it hits the ground!

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Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

cool, maybe pi will be an integer! so much neater :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

You could always try working on a different number base that would make pi expressible in just a few digits.

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Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

"You could always try working on a different number base that would make pi expressible in just a few digits."

Pi is an irrational number (i.e. a real number that cannot be expressed as a fraction), so the only way to do that would be a base-pi number system, which would make every single other number irrational instead. Not an improvement...

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Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

One school of thought says that this happened on 21st Dec last year, and that nobody has noticed. Yet.

I'm quite looking forward to the game...

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1613260297/shadowrun-returns

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Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

or the alternative universe may not be different enough that it matters in day to day life.

alternative universes don't have to be completely different. they can be mildly different as well.

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Re: :-D

technically elevators do not 'fall' as you and Hollywood have proposed unless the many multiple safety factored cables were to be cut, as the counter weight is in fact considerably heavier than the elevator itself. If the brakes and stopping systems were to completely fail the elevator would in fact shoot upwards at breakneck speed. I admit though that jumping out to the alternate universe of steady ground would still prove hazardous.

as an aside and back to topic, sounds like I have plenty of time to buy more sweet sweet tech devices and bust plenty of nuts all over my hot girlfriend before we are completely wiped out so frankly dear i don't give a damn

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Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

"Pi is an irrational number..."

How quaintly Euclidean...

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Black Helicopters

Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

re: How quaintly Euclidean...

I see what you're trying to do, but any of these "alternative universe" theories are rooted in maths. Even if they exist, there will be no universe where 2+2 = 4.1 or Pi isn't both a constant and an irrational number. The fundamental rules describing the geometry of alternative universes has to be the same as ours according to all the theories. The most likely scenario is that physical constants like ratios of fundamental forces or binding energies needed for chemical bonds or decay rates or the like could be subtly different, though it's vaguely possible (in a mathematical sense) that if a particular string theory happens to describe the Whole Sort of General Mishmash that is the multiverse, and the alternative universe has slightly different parameters, then we might actually be able to see extra dimensions there on a macroscopic scale. That would probably be the weirdest possibility. Even so, the metric spaces of our universe would also apply there, so Euclidean distance would still apply on some scales while a Minkowski space metric (which still requires Pi!) would be more natural in others.

I see that a previous poster got a downvote for suggesting alternative lead-based lifeforms. You'd have to tweak the fundamental physical constants by a massive amount before that would even be a remote possibility. Before you'd even managed to get there, you'd find that the stars had gone out due to not being able to self-sustain their fusion reaction. Then we'd have a lot more to worry about than alien invaders. Something like Ice-9 would be a lot more plausible than Pb-based life.

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Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

Neat idea from a sci-fi/fantasy novel I read once (Starshield or some such....I forget exactly):

The (very unrealistic) setting in that novel has laws of physics that aren't constant across the universe. Earth had, about 10,000 years ago, drifted from one physics zone (which was based on magic) to another (with the laws of physics as we know them) and humanity's days of living in a different set of the laws of physics are the basis for many legends of powerful wizards and dragons and such. What I found most interesting about it was that a species leaving their home planet for the first time will invariably assume that the laws of physics are constant right up until their engines stop working because the laws of physics have suddenly changed.

Of course it's all fiction, but it makes for a fun thought experiment, especially in light of this 'alternate universe is going to eat us' thing.

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Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

"You could always try working on a different number base that would make pi expressible in just a few digits."

Radians?

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Joke

Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

You mean there may be an alternate universe where Eadon is an MS fanboi?

Surely that's impossible!

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Pint

Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

@ Frumious Bandersnatch

There's no requirement for any universe that the ratio of the circumference of the diamter of a circle to its radius will be either irrational, transcendental, or constant. In fact we live in one where this is not the case. But yeah okay, I'm trying to be cute and possibly not doing it very well.

As an aside I'm not sure any of these theories "require" "Pi" as such. In fact I think that may ultimately be a circular argument. Rather I suggest that the formulation of mathematics that we have chosen happens to use Pi amongst other values as a fundamental constant. There are other, equally valid, mathematics - some axiomatically different, others possibly merely different formulations of the same underlying maths. No doubt each of these would have an equivalent value in the place of Pi - possibly to re-inject the irrationality as it were - but you hopefully get the point. Essentially, if we lived in a less locally Euclidean space would our trigonometry use Pi = 3.14... and then what would our maths look like? But does it matter or make an actual difference - not really no!

As another aside - ref your comment on the Pb based life forms - if the universe was so structured we'd have nothing whatsoever to worry about. This is not why the universe is structure the way it is, but it is one of the reasons we get to make fatuous comments on it :-)

Beer, it's a half. And it's cute. Even if I'm not.

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however, as we all know

the cake is a lie...

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lead-based life forms

That will make the gun-crazies happy :-)

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Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

Don't get me wrong... it was a fine attempt at making a joke, and I'm all for that, but the part of me that holds maths in such amazement(*) just flat out refuses to even consider Pi being some other value, even in an alternative universe. I literally just doesn't compute. A universe where e**(pi*i) isn't -1 is as unimaginable as one in which effects precede their causes or don't have causes at all, or where entropy doesn't grind everything down. Besides, even "non-Euclidean" geometries (eg, geometries without the parallel postulate) don't mean that they don't use and need Pi. If you take a plane journey through three points on the globe, the triangle you trace out has >180 degrees, so it's non-Euclidean, but it's obvious that if you go up a dimension from the 2-D Cartesian representation to the earth as a 3d sphere that everything still works and revolves around Pi ...

(*) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unreasonable_Effectiveness_of_Mathematics_in_the_Natural_Sciences

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Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

"the only way to do that would be a base-pi number system, which would make every single other number irrational instead. Not an improvement..."

Yes, I remember that bit of Pre-calculus class. A royal pain, if you ask me.

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Pint

Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

okay so you're right in as much as if you choose to base your maths on a euclidean geometry then euclidean rules apply. the point is that yu don't need to do that. that however comes with repercussions.

I can't imagine a formuation of geometry / maths in general that doesn't require irrational numbers - in fact I don't think the idea makes sense, so ultimately all I'm really doing is arguing over whether we call the the fudge factor that converts our non-euclidean view to euclidean and back "Pi" - and this is a possible conversion even if we might choose not to do it.

sadly i lost my love and wonder of maths somewhere in my first year :-(

unlike beer :-)

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Joke

Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

the only way to do that would be a base-pi number system

I took a class in base pi systems once. I gained 10lbs.

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Coat

The end will be nigh...

When the Cubs win the World Series.

(I expect Linux to have taken over the desktop long before then...)

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Boffin

Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

To your limited perception.

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I'd have said, it wasn't worth seeing.

Yet another false vacuum metastability argument. Fallibly provided in the extreme.

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Not quite true. Linux on the desktop for the masses, perhaps. Though, I suspect it'll have a critical mass effect that builds until the majority accept it.

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Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

Have an upvote for a change, for... well, being a sport :-)

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Joke

Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

SENSE OF HUMOUR FAIL!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Billions of years

Given that the universe is billions of light years large then chances are it's already happened. It'll just take time to get here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

As it happens we don't live in Euclidean space ... we just live in a universe that can be (mostly) explained by Euclidean mathematics. Maths as you might not have guessed isn't real, it doesn't actually exist.

That aside, alternative universes are all very mind games and fun, but we really have no reliable evidence to suggest that the universe we know isn't the only possible universe ... sure the next one doesn't have to be carbon based ... but that doesn't make a circle any different than the circle we know!

More likely, this bubble will look like to those on the inside, some 13 billion years later, to be very much like what we call the big bang. The possibility of surviving the moving will be zero.

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Re: The laws of physics will be different in the encroaching bubble.

"cool, maybe pi will be an integer! so much neater :-)"

Damn! Now you've got me wondering if there is some topological space where that is true.

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Gav
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Boffin

why not now?

And even if we could see it coming, what would we do? The article suggest we'd "put our affairs in order", I more expect that our affairs would go it quite the opposite direction.

What isn't explained here is why he is so confident it won't happen for billions of years. What's stopping it happen now?

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Unhappy

Re: however, as we all know

No, the cake WAS true.

But someone left it out in the rain. Now we'll never have the recipe again. Hélas.

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Anonymous Coward

Moot

Humanity won't last another millenium, let alone a billion (or several) years.

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Re: Moot

Why troll? Your comment will last even less.

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Mushroom

Re: Moot

> Humanity won't last another millenium, let alone a billion (or several) years.

Most of us won't last another 70 years.

And this is a potential problem with a particle we made up because our laws of physics don't appear to apply to what we can observe, right?

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Re: Moot

[citation needed]

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Re: Moot

"Humanity won't last another millenium, let alone a billion (or several) years"

Name me a millenium gone by when people have not generally thought that and been wrong, proven by our ability to make this observation.

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Re: Moot

"Ultimately, all human endevour is wasted" - Yogi Berra?

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Re: Moot

I'd suggest that for the majority of mankind's existence they didn't even think in such 'global' terms and on a localised scale more than enough 'tribes/cultures/societies' really have been wiped from the face of the earth ... however in relatively modern times where humanity has been dominated by linear religions that welcome the end of the world ... such idiots have been proven wrong time and time again ... however, they weren't looking for the rational end of the world they were of course expecting God to step in and end it! Hence they were looking in all the wrong places for the end!

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Re: Moot

Hey; we used epicycles until something better came along. With rubber [tyres].

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Re: Moot

How is a statement of probable fact "trolling"? Humanity, sadly, doesn't seem to be overcoming its tendency toward mass violence, or the bigotry inherent in the "us vs. them" fear-based struggle for survival. I certainly hope DAM is wrong, but he's hardly the first to point out we're rapidly running out of sufficient resources for an ever-increasing population. . . and, as a species, unwilling to work together to share those we have.

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Meh

Oh, well...

'It may be that 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'

Time for a cup of tea first, then.

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Linux

Re: Oh, well...

And perhaps another bath.

You're never alone with a rubber duck.

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