What if all the Large Hadron Collider’s recent woes are more than bad luck and technical problems? Two noted physicists speculate that the future may be pushing back on the LHC to avert the disaster of observing the Higgs boson.
The quest to observe the Higgs boson has certainly been plagued by its share of troubles, from the cancellation of the Superconducting Supercollider in 1993 to the Large Hadron Collider’s streak of technical troubles. In fact, the projects have suffered such bad luck that Holger Bech Nielsen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto wonder if it isn’t bad luck at all, but future influences rippling back to sabotage them. In papers like “Test of Effect From Future in Large Hadron Collider: a Proposal” and “Search for Future Influence From LHC,” they put forth the notion that observing the Higgs boson would be such an abhorrent event that the future is actually trying to prevent it from happening.
“It must be our prediction that all Higgs producing machines shall have bad luck,” Dr. Nielsen said in an e-mail message. In an unpublished essay, Dr. Nielson said of the theory, “Well, one could even almost say that we have a model for God.” It is their guess, he went on, “that He rather hates Higgs particles, and attempts to avoid them.”
Nielsen and Ninomiya recognize that the theory sounds pretty crazy and that other projects involving a lot of delicate technology — such as the Hubble Telescope — have gone through their own periods of apparent bad luck. But their theory — wild as it is — is situated in current research in theoretical physics and time travel. If the observation of the Higgs boson would result in calamity, they claim it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that someone from our future might exert influence on our time to stop it:
While it is a paradox to go back in time and kill your grandfather, physicists agree there is no paradox if you go back in time and save him from being hit by a bus. In the case of the Higgs and the collider, it is as if something is going back in time to keep the universe from being hit by a bus. Although just why the Higgs would be a catastrophe is not clear. If we knew, presumably, we wouldn’t be trying to make one.