Image credit: ESO/Illustris collaboration
Within the world of physics has emerged a line of thinking which says we may have reached the limit of what we can understand about the Universe through science. The core of this thinking lies in the values of 2 things that are responsible for all the matter and all we know about the Universe. The Universe is diverse and interesting, but according to theoretical physics, there should be nothing.
“The next few years may tell us whether we’ll be able to continue to increase our understanding of nature or whether maybe, for the first time in the history of science, we could be facing questions that we cannot answer,” Says CERN particle physicist Harry Cliff during a recent interesting TED talk in Geneva, which you can view at the end of this article.
If either of these 2 numbers were different, our Universe would be a total void.
The first is a value that represents the strength of what physicists call the Higgs field, an invisible energy field not entirely unlike other magnetic fields that permeates everything all around us. Without it, none of the particles that make up atoms could form.
According to both the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics, which drive our understanding of the cosmos on incredibly large and extremely small scales, the Higgs field should be performing one of two tasks, says Cliff.
Either it should be turned off, meaning it would have a strength value of zero and wouldn’t be working to give particles mass, or it should be turned on, and, as the theory goes, this “on value” is “absolutely enormous,” Cliff says. But neither of those two scenarios are what physicists observe.
“In reality, the Higgs field is just slightly on,” says Cliff. “It’s not zero, but it’s ten thousand trillion times weaker than its fully on value — a bit like a light switch that got stuck just before the ‘off’ position. And this value is crucial. If it were a tiny bit different, then there would be no physical structure in the universe.”
Why the strength of the Higgs field is so ridiculously weak defies understanding. Physicists hope to find an answer to this question by detecting brand new particles at the newly-upgraded particle accelerator at CERN.
Source: Business Insider
The second dangerous number is also as what physicists have called “the worst theoretical prediction in the history of physics.”
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