Physicist Hawking: God Particle' Could Cause Universal Catastrophe

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Professor Stephen Hawking in his office at University of Cambridge, U.K., in December 2011.Credit: Science Museum / AP

The British physicist Stephen Hawking is proposing the idea that God Particle may prompt the end of the universe.

The Higgs Boson, which is important to explaining why things have mass, could become unstable, Hawking argues in the preface to a new book, "Starmus," a series of lectures by scientists and astronomers.

"This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay," which would cause time and space to collapse, Hawking says, according to the U.K. Sunday Times.

"This could happen at any time and we wouldn't see it coming."

Hawking says this scenario is unlikely but is still exciting because it opens up a new realm of physics inquiry, the Times reported.

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