In an attempt to assuage a sector of the public that’s concerned about the effects of the unprecedented power being generated by the Large Hadron Collider, CERN is answering questions. One of its obstacles in putting people at ease is, ironically, famous physicist Stephen Hawking, who certainly supports the work being done at CERN. Hawking had written that the Higgs “potential” could destroy the universe and “we wouldn’t see it coming.” People have mistakenly conflated Hawking’s reference to the Higgs potential with the Higgs boson, discovered at the LHC in 2013. They’re not the same.
In a Q&A published by CERN about Large Hadron Collider, CERN takes this question: What did Stephen Hawking say about Higgs potential destroying the Universe? The first paragraph of CERN’s response is single sentence that reads: Hawking was not discussing the work being done at the LHC.