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Q & A: Are we just a decayed vacuum?

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Most recent answer: 03/22/2014
Q:
The theory of vacuum decay states that if our universe is in the state of a false vacuum, a special event could trigger a ”correction”, which puts our vacuum into a more stable state, which changes our laws of physics, resulting in our doom. But since vacuum decay expands at the speed of light, and the big bang was actually an expansion, doesn’t that mean that our universe could be the result of a vacuum decay?
- Håvard (age 15)
Blommenholm, Norway
A:

We don't really know much of anything about the very start of the Big Bang, but it now looks very likely that it was followed by a rapid inflation period. That means the universe was in a false vacuum. Then that rapid inflation ended, so the universe found its way out of that false vacuum to one of much lower energy density. So in that sense, yes, we're living in a decayed false vacuum.

The universe is still inflating a little bit, so it seems likely that we're still not in the lowest energy vacuum. It may decay again.

Mike W.


(published on 03/22/2014)

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