STONY BROOK, NY, February 4 , 2019 – The history of the universe is predicated on the idea that, compared to today, the universe was hotter and more symmetric in its early phase. Scientists have thought this because of the “Higgs Boson” finding—the particle that gives mass to all other fundamental particles. The concept is that as one analyzes time back toward the Big Bang, the universe gets hotter and the Higgs phase changes to one where everything became massless. Now physicists are presenting a new theory that suggests an alternative history of the universe is possible.
The research, funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, is led by Patrick Meade, PhD, Associate Professor in the C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook University and his former PhD student, Harikrishnan Ramani. The findings are published in the latest edition of Physical Review Letters.
The researchers propose a theory beyond the Standard Model of particle physics that describes how electroweak symmetry is not restored at high temperatures. If correct, this would lead to many potential consequences during the development of the universe, such as other phases of matter, particles staying massive in primordial plasma, and new possibilities for explaining the matter-antimatter asymmetry. The theory also highlights how the history of the universe could be very counterintuitive compared to many phenomenon on earth that demonstrate symmetry restoration.
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Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with nearly 26,000 students, more than 2,700 faculty members and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University is among a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University fuels Long island’s economic growth. Its impact on the Long island economy amounts to $7.38 billion in increased output. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.