Cyclic cosmology, conformal symmetry and the metastability of the Higgs

Itzhak Bars, Paul J. Steinhardt, Neil Turok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Recent measurements at the LHC suggest that the current Higgs vacuum could be metastable with a modest barrier (height (1010-12GeV)4) separating it from a ground state with negative vacuum density of order the Planck scale. We note that metastability is problematic for standard bang cosmology but is essential for cyclic cosmology in order to end one cycle, bounce, and begin the next. In this Letter, motivated by the approximate scaling symmetry of the standard model of particle physics and the primordial large-scale structure of the universe, we use our recent formulation of the Weyl-invariant version of the standard model coupled to gravity to track the evolution of the Higgs in a regularly bouncing cosmology. We find a band of solutions in which the Higgs field escapes from the metastable phase during each big crunch, passes through the bang into an expanding phase, and returns to the metastable vacuum, cycle after cycle after cycle. We show that, due to the effect of the Higgs, the infinitely cycling universe is geodesically complete, in contrast to inflation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-55
Number of pages6
JournalPhysics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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