Scientists Wonder: Should the Universe Even Exist?

I don’t even know what to make of this one.

It’s much better to read the press release for a full explanation. But, suffice it to say, scientists over at CERN have performed measurements once again confirming that protons and antiprotons share the same magnetic moment (or g-factor). At least, so far, it seems that way.

What does this mean? It means that, in the very early goings of the universe, the equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have annihilated each other, resulting in a burst of energy and then, well, nothing at all.

The universe should not exist.

It’s a conundrum. The BASE researchers (that’s Baryon Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment) were able to measure the g-factor down to nine “significant digits”: 2.7928473441 nuclear magnetons. That’s the proton. The antiproton is the opposite value: -2.7928473441.

This measurement confirms, for now, what they call the CPT symmetry: Charge, parity, and time reversal symmetry. There appears to be a fundamental symmetry between particles and antiparticles.

One of the authors of the study, Christian Smorra, highlighted the problem here: “All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, which is why the universe should not actually exist,” he said. “An asymmetry must exist here somewhere but we simply do not understand where the difference is. What is the source of the symmetry break?”

All these scientists can do is continue the search to find that difference. While this most recent measurement is the most precise yet – 350 times more precise than prior measurements – the difference may exist deeper in that value.

Symmetry Break

Now here’s a question: If matter and antimatter should’ve annihilated each other during the Big Bang, is it possible we’re just existing in that brief flash of energy? That the universe is still in a state of eruption, but from our limited points-of-view, everything appears relatively stable?

I mean, I’m totally uninformed, but this stuff is fun to think about.

Time is this weird thing we don’t understand, and I’ve always thought about what that means to the creation of the universe and our place in it. Our human perception of time, as well – about 14 billion years passed from the creation of the universe and the moment we first opened our eyes, and then things seemingly ground to a halt.

If there was no one here to observe it, just how fast would things be moving? Maybe the universe is expanding because it’s still blowing up, and we’re just caught in a little bubble of time. Like in slow motion.

But then, I’m not an astrophysicist and I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m just a guy with a blog. What does it even mean to exist, anyway?


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.