Once upon a time, Stephen Hawking was so sure the Higgs Boson was a fantasy that he bet $100* against its discovery. But now the British boffin has dramatically changed his mind, warning that the so-called god particle could go rogue and destroy the entire universe.
Clearly annoyed that Peter Higgs, who predicted the existence of the famous particle, has hogged the limelight of late, Hawking warned that the god particle could kill us all without warning. In fact, we could be on the verge of imminent apocalypse and not even know about it.
In the opening essay of a book called Starmus, which collects together talks and articles by prominent physicists, the stargazer warned:
"The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100bn gigaelectronvolts (GeV)," he said.
"This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn't see it coming."
Scary stuff indeed. But don't let it keep you up at night, because there is a key reason why the Higgs Boson won't blow us all up.
"A particle accelerator that reaches 100bn GeV would be larger than Earth, and is unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate," Hawking added.
The good professor has a rather pessimistic outlook on life, predicting that humanity would be clobbered to death by a manmade virus or even aliens.
He previously said that physics became "less interesting" after the discovery of the devil, sorry, god particle. ®
Professor Hawking reportedly made his wager with Gordon Kane of Michigan University, according to his comments as reported in the Daily Telegraph.