Stephen Hawking has made a rather worrying statement. One involving the end of literally everything.
And when someone like Stephen Hawking says something worrying it's usually worth listening.
Hawking has claimed that humans could theoretically destroy the Universe by experimenting with the Higgs Boson 'God particle'.
His bold claim suggests that if enough energy was exerted on the Higgs Boson then it could become 'metastable' during which the following pretty terrifying things would take place:
"This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light."
The only way to exert that much energy would be through the use of colliders, like the one found at CERN.
Thankfully there is a glimmer of hope which is that Hawking reiterates that not only is it extremely unlikely to ever happen, but that 'a particle accelerator that reaches 100bn GeV would be larger than Earth, and is unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate.'
Professor Hawking's comments are from the preface of Starmus, a collection of scientific lectures by prominent members of the scientific and astronomical community including Buzz Aldrin and Brian May.
The 'God Particle' was first discovered in 2012 and is regarded as the 'glue' which binds the Universe together. Scientists were able to discover it through the use of large colliders.
These giant structures consist of a particle accelerator which fires particles at astronomical speeds into each other causing collisions.
Scientists can then analyse these collisions which essentially break the particles down into their building blocks.