USING THE HIGGS FIELD, SCIENTISTS THEORIZE IT IS POSSIBLE TO CAUSE A ‘BABY UNIVERSE’ TO BREAK OFF FROM OUR OWN, SAFELY
A radical new project could permit human beings to create a “baby universe” in a laboratory in Japan. While it sounds like a dangerous undertaking, physicist Nobuyuki Sakai and his research team at Yamagata University believe that if the project is successful, the space-time around a tiny point within our universe will be distorted in such a way that it will begin to form a new superfluid space, and eventually break off, separate in all respects from our experience of space and time, causing no harm to the fabric of our universe.
The project takes as its starting point two basic theories about the foundations of our universe: the big bang and inflation theory. The big bang theory, as many readers are well aware, observes that all objects in the known universe appear to be moving away from one another, suggesting that the universe was jump-started when all matter and energy were concentrated in an inconceivably tiny space, allowing them to overcome binding forces and causing a cosmic explosion.
It is well-tested and consistent with all currently accepted models for general cosmology, as tested against advanced theoretical and observational physics. But it is only one piece of the puzzle. Inflation is a key theory, developed in 1981, when MIT physicist Alan Guth observed that there appeared to have been a period immediately following the big bang when the universe “inflated” rapidly, allowing distinct regions of matter and energy to function comfortably free from any forces that might cause them to collapse against each other or disrupt each other’s evolution.
This project is not exactly theoretical physics at work. It is closer to a physical application of observed phenomena, in combination, with the aim of achieving an as yet untested physical effect. Inflation theory helps provide the means of understanding how that effect might be brought about.
As reported by the New Scientist:
Inflation theory, subsequently modified by Linde, relies on the fact that the ‘vacuum’ of empty space-time is not a boring, static place. Instead, it is subject to quantum fluctuations that cause strange bubbles to appear at random times. These bubbles of ‘false vacuum’ contain space-time with different —and very curious— properties.
The space-time inside these false vacuums is organized and kept constant by a phenomenon known as the ‘Higgs field’. It is believed that with the constant provided by the Higgs field, these bubbles of ‘false vacuum’ can be induced to withstand contact with the high pressure exterior vacuum and subsequently to expand through a kind of cosmic inflation like the one which followed the big bang at the beginning of our universe.
The key is a monopole, a unique sperical particle with only a north or south pole, only one charge. Adding mass and energy to this already extremely dense particle, could cause it to expand “eternally”, providing the trigger needed to make the bubble of false vacuum into an ever-expanding universe, akin to our own, but entirely separate and likely to develop its own physical properties, laws and materials.
Here is the key to the “new universe” paradigm for the project. It would not be simply an extension of our own universe, a space where strange things happen. The New Scientist reports physicist Nobuyuki Sakai’s discoveries regarding this process as follows:
[T]he baby universe has its own space-time and, as this inflates, the pressure from the true vacuum outside its walls continues to constrain it. As these forces compete, the growing baby universe is forced to bubble out from our space-time until its only connection to us is through a narrow space-time tunnel called a wormhole…
Eventually, the “umbilical” connection between our space-time and the baby universe would be effectively cut, and the baby universe would enter into its own unique process of unending expansion. From our perspective, it would be lost inside a microscopic “black hole”, which will not appear to expand into our space-time. Hawking radiation will be emitted and the tiny black hole will “evaporate”, sealing the separation between the two universes.
Ultimately, this evaporation is what makes the project possible, but is also, perhaps, its most serious obstacle. It is expected that the separation between our space-time and the baby universe would occur so quickly, it might be impossible —within the limitations of our physical universe— to observe its having been created.
The above text was originally published at Sentido.tv, 2 August 2006 (now CafeSentido.com), but since there has not been a declared or proven success as yet in creating an entirely new universe in the lab, The Hot Spring takes up the issue for examination, and adds new information relating to progress in the field. Research by Stefano Ansoldi and Eduardo Guendelman appears to indicate that:
A particular kind of baby universe solution, involving string-like matter, is studied to show that it can be formed by “investing” an arbitrarily small amount of energy, i.e. it can appear from an almost flat space at the classical level.
What this means is that the field of physics, as a whole, may be closer to understanding what actual properties need to be thoroughly understood and observed in a closed environment, in order to implement which processes that would allow for the generation of a true “baby universe”, emerging from within our own space-time but affecting it in no noticeable lasting way.
In April, the physicist Peter Higgs predicted the “God particle” would be found by the new CERN particle accelerator, sometime in early 2009. Higgs theorized that a yet-to-be observed fundamental particle knows as the Higgs boson, is the source of all matter in the universe, making the cosmos and existence as we know it possible.
After four decades of theoretical testing and exploration, the mechanisms of particle colliders have advanced enough that Higgs now believes this fundamental building block of the physical universe may be observed under controlled conditions. Observing and studying the Higgs boson would allow particle physicists to better calibrate the approach that might be taken to using the Higgs field to set in motion the inflation of a new universe out of our own.