I had a dream about particle physics last night. I woke up with a large hadron.

Sorry about that, please don’t report me to the comedy police. I’m just excited by the suggestion that the large hadron collider could be sabotaging itself from the future. The idea being that, were it to work, it would produce Higgs bosons. And the universe finds the idea of Higgs bosons so abhorrent that their appearance would send ripples back in time to prevent their coming into being.

I’m no physicist, but I note this is being suggested relatively seriously, by people who are proper physicists, or at least have published it on arXiv. It is fair to say however that it is not a widely accepted theory, especially among people working on the large hadron collider.

But doesn’t it open up a whole new wonderful universe of excuses? You need no longer claim that your dog ate your homework. Instead you can claim that were your homework completed, the universe would have been distressed and so prevented you from doing it. Who is going to argue with the universe (multiverses, of course, are a different matter)?

Just how general is this effect? And how does it relate to the fact that things sometimes just ‘don’t work’, to use the technical term. To put it another way, I have noticed a particular facility in my reference management software for magnificently buggering up my manuscripts. Is this because a future state in which I am calm and satisfied, having just submitted a perfectly referenced paper without inexplicable crashes, is somehow so disgusting that it interferes with the present to stop itself coming into being? Or is it just that I can’t for the life of me get the bloody program to work.

More philosophically, if the future is so powerful, why did it not intervene earlier in the process? I mean, if nobody had ever thought of the Higgs boson, we wouldn’t be building giant colliders to look for it, which makes me wonder if there are secrets that the future doesn’t want us to know.

Think about it; a sort of cosmological superinjunction stopping us from knowing what we don’t know. But in this case, I don’t think Twitter is going to be much help, even if Stephen Fry gets involved.