London: The eventual fate of our Universe may be determined by probing the properties of the Higgs boson, scientists have said.
They believe that a concept known as vacuum instability could result, billions of years from now, in a new universe opening up in the present one and replacing it, the BBC reported.
It all depends on some precise numbers related to the Higgs that researchers are currently trying to pin down.
A "Higgs-like" particle was first seen at the Large Hadron Collider last year.
Associated with an energy field that pervades all space, the boson helps explain the existence of mass in the cosmos. In other words, it underpins the workings of all the matter we see around us.
Since detecting the particle in their accelerator experiments, researchers at the Geneva lab and at related institutions around the world have begun to theorise on the Higgs' implications for physics.
One idea that it suggests is the possibility of a cyclical universe, in which every so often all of space is renewed.
"It turns out there's a calculation you can do in our Standard Model of particle physics, once you know the mass of the Higgs boson," explained Dr Joseph Lykken, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory theoretician.
"What happens is you get just a quantum fluctuation that makes a tiny bubble of the vacuum the Universe really wants to be in. And because it's a lower-energy state, this bubble will then expand, basically at the speed of light, and sweep everything before it," Lykken told BBC News.
And the Sun and the Earth will be long gone by this time, he said.
If the calculation on vacuum instability stands up, it will revive an old idea that the Big Bang Universe we observe today is just the latest version in a permanent cycle of events, the scientists noted.
Dr Lykken presented his theory in Boston at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
First Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 10:42