I was reading today about what Stephen Hawking said about the Higgs Boson and mere humans being able to destroy the universe by mucking with the Higgs Boson in an extra large supercollider (can’t be that far off in the future, can it?) If there really are beings much more advanced than us in the universe, why haven’t they destroyed it yet by accident by doing similar experiments?
Maybe they were smart enough not to have done such risky experiments.
Or maybe they did them and were very lucky to have just barely avoided destroying the universe.
Or maybe they did them, started destroying the universe, and managed to figure out how to stop the damage from spreading.
Or maybe they’re not as advanced as you suppose, and simply aren’t capable of such experiments (yet).
Or maybe Hawking is wrong, and it’s actually really, really difficult to destroy the universe.
… or maybe they already started the process, which is spreading towards us at the speed of light.
I don’t think that the speed of light would apply in the scenario Hawking was talking about.
Back in the 40’s , I do believe that some scientists were concerned that the detonation of the first A-bomb might cause a chain reaction which could have global implications.
I don’t have any cite for this , I just have a vague recollection of reading it somewhere …
Why would you destroy the entire Universe when that’s where you keep your stuff?
Or maybe we’re the first species in the history of the cosmos to develop the capacity to contemplate such matters.
Maybe it is inevitable.
Perhaps that is how our universe got its start in the first place-from the fuck up of a previous universe’s scientist.
It would solve the Fermi paradox if the answer is that intelligent creatures pretty quickly destroy the universe they live in. A little more extreme than the more common solution that they just destroy themselves, but six of one, half a dozen of another.
Maybe it has been destroyed and we are living in the aftermath; like road warriors with only faint memories handed down by word of mouth and dusty old holy books thru the ages of this place called heaven.
Maybe they are not out there
I don’t see how this can be answered factually.
Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.
It’s scientists all the way down!
Did he actually say that or did someone say that he said it? This sounds like an echo of the mini black holes will destroy the Earth fear that was going around before the last supercollider started up. If he actually said it, could you provide a link. 'Cause it would be interesting to see what he said.
That was the first thing I thought of. Most people who glibly say ‘destroy the universe’ don’t think about how damn big the thing is.
Thats actually kind of poetic!
During the Manhattan Project, Edward Teller calculated that the blast might be capable of igniting the nitrogen in the earth’s atmosphere, possibly destroying all life on earth. This caused a lot of the scientists a bit of anxiety, but further investigation showed that Teller had made a mistake in his calculations, and calculations by the other scientists showed that it wasn’t possible.
Still, right before the Trinity test, all of the scientists took wagers on exactly how big the kaboom would be. Oppenheimer and Ramsey both bet that it would be a complete dud. Other scientists had varying bets. Enrico Fermi, however, revived the atmospheric ignition possibility, though I think he was probably just having a bit of fun.
Many books and articles on the Trinity test mention this as well, so it’s easy to find a cite for it.
What Hawking’s talking about is a vacuum metastability event, which causes the nucleation of a bubble of vacuum at a lower energy that then indeed expands at the speed of light.
Which also entails that it’s impossible to destroy the whole universe that way, since portions of it are, due to metric expansion, currently receding from us faster than the speed of light. But it’s still not something you’d want to happen in your immediate neighborhood…
Perhaps we live in a universe filled with multiple expanding wavefronts of destruction, and none have reached us yet.
I recall a sci-fi short story where scientist unknowingly devised an experiment that would destroy the universe in this way if turned on, and inadvertently proved the Many Worlds version of quantum mechanics to be true. Because you see, every time they tried to turn it on something would go wrong, no matter how careful they were or how implausible the impediment turned out to be. Because in all the quantum universes where the experiment worked, everyone died instantly as the universe was destroyed, and only universes where it failed survived. A variation on the Quantum Suicide thought experiment.