Calculating the End of the Universe Using Standard Deviation Statistics

  • #1
TomVassos
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TL;DR Summary
One possible end to the Universe is called vacuum decay, where a Higgs boson could transition from a false vacuum to a true vacuum state. This would create a vacuum decay bubble that would expand at light speed, destroying everything in its path. With a 95% probably, we know when this is likely to occur. But what is the likelihood that it has happened already?
One possible end to the Universe is called vacuum decay, where a Higgs boson could transition from a false vacuum to a true vacuum state. This would create a vacuum decay bubble (known as bubble nucleation) that would expand at light speed, destroying everything in its path.

According to Anders Andreassen et al. at Harvard University, they calculated with a 95% confidence level that vacuum decay will likely not happen until the Universe is between 1058 and 10549 years old: https://journals.aps.org/prd/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevD.97.056006

But what is the statistical likelihood that vacuum decay has already occurred somewhere in the Universe after only 13.8 billion years, (about 1010 years)?

Can anyone on this forum answer this question?

Although the answer to this question is almost certainly going to be very close to zero (maybe 10-150 percent?), it raises some very interesting possibilities, especially if the Universe is infinite in size.

I would be eternally grateful if anyone on this forum could answer my question:
What is the statistical likelihood that vacuum decay has already occurred?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Tom Vassos
 
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  • #3
TomVassos said:
But what is the statistical likelihood that vacuum decay has already occurred somewhere in the Universe after only 13.8 billion years, (about 1010 years)?
Not an answer to your question, but it's not clear to me how meaningful any numerical answer would be.
 
  • #4
Yes, because regardless of how small this number is, in an infinite universe, vacuum decay has already happened an infinite number of times!!!
 
  • #5
TomVassos said:
Yes, because regardless of how small this number is, in an infinite universe, vacuum decay has already happened an infinite number of times!!!
Which, one could argue, is itself a physically meaningless statement!
 
  • #6
Well, I like to think that it is a statement about how huge the universe might be. Think about it. In an infinite universe, vacuum decay has already occurred an infinite number of times, each bubble nucleation destroying the Universe at light-speed.

But there is almost zero chance of Earth getting destroyed because each of these bubble nucleations is so far apart from another one. And with the expansion of the Universe, it is impossible for all these bubbles to ever meet up with each other to destroy the entire Universe. What a cool paradox. I would love to have a broader conversation about this on PhysicsForums but for some reason, the moderators have shut me down from having any discussion about an unproven paradox. Oh well.

Fascinating thought though!! :) :)
 
  • #7
TomVassos said:
I would love to have a broader conversation about this on PhysicsForums but for some reason, the moderators have shut me down from having any discussion about an unproven paradox.
I can see the reason(s) from your warning history. Check your PMs... :wink:
 
  • #8
PeroK said:
Not an answer to your question, but it's not clear to me how meaningful any numerical answer would be.
Deciding whether to max out one's credit cards?

I also don't see the point asking about what is, practically by definition, unknown and unobservable. It's certainly not subject to scientific inquiry.
 
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  • #9
Yes hat's true, we will never be able to observe it coming. But, if science is ever able to prove that the Universe is infinite in size, then it would be cool to know that all of these vacuum bubble nucleations are happening all over the Universe... :)

Tom
 
  • #10
If one cannot investigate this using observations, how is it science?
 
  • #11
TomVassos said:
Fascinating thought though!! :) :)
One person's fascinating thought is another's vacuous philosophy!
 
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  • #12
Lol, that's true... but just remember all of those thought experiments that Einstein did... lol.
 
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  • #13
Do you really want to place yourself in the role of the next Einstein?
 
  • #14
IBTL. :wink:
 
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