The basis of the theory is that sooner or later a radical shift in the forces of the universe will cause every particle in it to become extremely heavy.
Everything - every grain of sand, every planet and every galaxy – will become billions of times heavier than it is now.
This violent process is called a ‘phase transition’ and is similar to what happens when, for example, water turns to steam or a magnet heats up and loses its power.
WHAT WOULD CAUSE OUR UNIVERSE TO COLLAPSE?
The Higgs boson particle is a manifestation of an energy field can be found throughout the universe called the Higgs field.
The Higgs field is thought to explain why particles have mass.
This Higgs field could exist in two states - one that we feel now - and another that is billions of times denser than what scientists have already observed.
If this ultra-dense Higgs field existed, then a bubble of this state could suddenly appear in a certain place of the universe at a certain time, similar to when you boil water.
The bubble would then expand at the speed of light, entering all space, and turning the Higgs field from the state it’s in now into a new one.
All elementary particles inside the bubble will reach a mass, that is much heavier than if they were outside the bubble.
The new weight will squeeze all material into a small, super-hot and heavy ball, and the universe as we know it will cease to exist.
During this transition, empty space became filled with an invisible substance that we now call the Higgs field.
Some elementary particles interact with this field, gaining energy in the process, and this intrinsic energy is known as the mass of a particle.
By using mathematical equations, researchers at the University of Southern Denmark have discovered that the Higgs field could exist in two states, just like matter can exist as a liquid or a solid.
In the second state, the Higgs field is billions of times denser than what scientists have already observed.
If this ultra-dense Higgs field exists, then a 'bubble' of this state could suddenly appear in a certain place of the universe at anytime, similar to when you boil water.
The bubble would then expand at the speed of light, entering all space, and turning the Higgs field from the state it is in now into a new one.
All elementary particles inside the bubble will reach a mass much heavier than if they were outside the bubble, and they would be pulled together to form supermassive centres.
‘Many theories and calculations predict such a phase transition– but there have been some uncertainties in the previous calculations,’ said Jens Krog, PhD student at University of Southern Denmark.
‘Now we have performed more precise calculations, and we see two things: Yes, the universe will probably collapse, and: A collapse is even more likely than the old calculations predicted.’
‘The phase transition will start somewhere in the universe and spread from there. Maybe the collapse has already started somewhere in the universe and right now it is eating its way into the rest of the universe.
Maybe a collapsed is starting right now right here. Or maybe it will start far away from here in a billion years. We do not know.’
The researchers looked at three main equations that underlie the prediction of a phase transition and showed how these equations can be worked out together and interact with each other.
Although the new calculations predict that a collapse is now more likely than ever before, it is also possible, that it will not happen at all.
It is a prerequisite for the phase change that the universe consists of the elementary particles that we know today, including the Higgs particle.
If the universe contains undiscovered particles, the whole basis for the prediction of phase change would prove false.