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Much of thermodynamics was worked out around the industrial revolution, because the phase transition of boiling water is the driving force behind steam engines. If you add energy to water, the temperature will in general increase steadily. However, at degrees celsius, that behaviour changes quite dramatically.

Public Lecture: Dark Matter in the Universe

The temperature stops increasing, even if you carry on adding energy. But the volume or the pressure, if the water is in a boiler will suddenly increase as the water undergoes a phase transition from liquid to gas. The pressure can be used to drive an engine.

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Once the water has boiled, the temperature will start going up again. In simple terms, it is when particles acquire mass; quite a dramatic change. As Malcolm descibed in his seminar, this is a bit of a problem for cosmologists, because of another piece of physics which gets dragged in.

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It is quite difficult to come up with models of the Big Bang which can produce all the matter we see around us, and no antimatter. Not anti-baryons. To make protons and neutrons, without making equal numbers of anti-protons and anti-neutrons, a dramatic shift is required somewhere as the universe cools. The favourite way of achieving this is by having a first-order electroweak phase transition. Which is now ruled out in the Standard Model thanks to the Higgs boson being too heavy, and smoothing out that phase transition into a continuous one. This is one reason why people like Malcolm are coming up with theoretical extensions of the Standard Model which would both provide a suitable Dark Matter particle, and allow the electroweak phase transition to be first order.

It is also one of the reasons the hunt for Dark Matter is so exciting, and in fact difficult, since some of these constraints imply it might be even harder to find than we thought.

The secret life of Higgs bosons

But it is also pleasing to remember that it goes both ways. The physics that was worked out while struggling to make better steam engines for the industrial revolution now allows us to connect the Big Bang, the behaviour of galaxies, the abundance of matter compared to antimatter, the Higgs boson and Dark Matter; all via the thermodynamics of the early universe.


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See here for more on derivatives. Another reason knowing that number is interesting. Jon Butterworth has written a book about being involved in the discovery of the Higgs boson, Smashing Physics , available here. This quantum fluctuation could happen somewhere out in the empty vacuum of space between galaxies and create an expanding "bubble," Lykken said.

Here's how Hawking describes this Higgs doomsday scenario in the new book: "The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above [billion] gigaelectronvolts GeV. This could happen at any time and we wouldn't see it coming.


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The Higgs field inside that bubble would be stronger and have a lower energy level than its surroundings. Even if the Higgs field inside the bubble were slightly stronger than it is now, it could shrink atoms, disintegrate atomic nuclei, and leave hydrogen as the only element in the universe, Giudice explained in his TED talk.

Using a calculation that involves the currently known mass of the Higgs boson, researchers predict this bubble would contain an ultra-strong Higgs field that would expand at the speed of light through space-time. Experiments Of course, the picture of the Universe evolution presented above is based on the extrapolation of known physics up to high-energy scales and on specific hypotheses about physics beyond the SM.

Figure 8. References 1. Aad G, et al. B , 1— Chatrchyan S, et al. The probable fate of the Standard Model. B , — Higgs boson mass and new physics. High Energy Phys. Investigating the near-criticality of the Higgs boson. Shaposhnikov M.

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Cosmology: theory. Bezrukov FL, Shaposhnikov M. The Standard Model Higgs boson as the inflaton.

On initial conditions for the hot big bang. Preheating in the Standard Model with the Higgs-inflaton coupled to gravity. D 79 , Asaka T, Shaposhnikov M. The nuMSM, dark matter and baryon asymmetry of the Universe. B , 17— Quantum fields in curved space. Bezrukov F, Shaposhnikov M.

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Standard model Higgs boson mass from inflation: two loop analysis. Higgs inflation: consistency and generalisations. The top quark and Higgs boson masses and the stability of the electroweak vacuum. Ade PAR, et al.