It’s all about the Higgs

Congratulations to Peter Higgs and Francois Englert on being selected as this years Nobel prize winners in Physics. A well deserved accolade for both physicists for their foundational work on the Higgs boson.

Interestingly a recent proposal by Sean Tulin (University of Michigan) and Géraldine Servant (Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Study in Barcelona) suggests that the Higgs may also be behind two of the greater mysteries in current physics – why the universe is filled with matter rather than anti-matter and also the proposed “Dark Matter” that is believed to make up ninety percent of the universe.

The proposal, somewhat awkwardly dubbed “Higgsogenesis”, suggests that an imbalance in the number of Higgs and anti-Higgs particles existed in the early universe and could have resulted in the imbalance now seen in the amount of matter and anti-matter.

In addition, they theorize that if dark matter particles are generated by the decay of the Higgs, then this would explain the current ratio of such matter to visible matter.

This is a neat theory and would make the Higgs central to our understanding of cosmological development. Although the Higgs is currently considered to have no anti-particle, the idea is not ruled out. This raises the question though as to what might cause such an imbalance in the Higgs/anti-Higgs ratio?

A separate team led by Sacha Davidson (University of Lyons, France) has a theory that if Higgs has an anti-matter equivalent and a similar, but as yet undetected, Higgs-like third particle exists then they would produce the asymmetry that Tulin and Servant describe.

If the theory is correct it may very well be possible to detect the dark matter decays from Higgs events at CERN which would be a double win: the confirmation of dark matter itself as well as Higgsogenesis.

I sometimes wonder whether infinity works both ways. The universe is generally considered infinite from a large-scale perspective but what if it’s the same at a quantum level too? What makes me think this is that every time science has reached what it felt was the “inner-most” secrets, something comes along that shows there’s yet another level of detail behind it. Perhaps we live in a world of infinite recession too. I hope that’s not true. I don’t want there to be limits to our knowledge.

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