This is taken from a recent paper published in Physical Review letters (

This week in physics

"The probability that the Universe exists in a stable state may be greater than previously thought."


"To understand the future and the past of the Universe, and to assess the validity of eschatological predictions, one now needs more precise measurements of the Higgs boson mass and of other parameters of the standard model. Progress in this direction will come from future experiments at the LHC, as well as at other upcoming facilities, such as the International Linear Collider and the Very Large Hadron Collider. However, the same experiments may also discover new particles and interactions, which would modify the Higgs potential and thus profoundly alter the current discussion on the Universe’s stability."


Comment (John):

The graph illustrates where our Universe resides (at the origin). To understand what this graph illustrates, one thinks in term of a ball rolling on the curves. If we are at the lowest point on the curves,  i.e. the two curves marked 'Stable',  then the graphs that are only higher than the origin occur. There is nowhere to go/roll but down onto the origin (ball rolling downhill settles  at the origin). The other curves (metastable region  and also the lowest curve) can enable the ball to run downhill to 'negative'  infinity going down off to the right hand side, forever. That leads to a universe-wide vacuum-state which changes dramatically.  This would mean that the Universe is ultimately unstable and it is a matter of time for the vacuum to  "go downhill". This possibility is the Catastrophe referred to in the paper. We fall into the abyss on the right hand side of the graph. They currently think the meta-stable curves are still more likely.

actual paper below

(Stability of the Electroweak Vacuum: Gauge Independence and Advanc...




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