I am currently crafting a science fiction story in which humanity confronts an unprecedented threat: a novel form of 'heat death' that causes matter to cease to exist when it reaches certain temperatures. This event, initially manifesting with the disappearance of stars and the darkening of one half of the sky, eventually extends to Earth, transforming our lush home into a frozen wasteland.
In this narrative, a mysterious quantum effect is driving this scenario. With the temperature threshold for this disappearance effect gradually reducing from stellar levels to the temperature at the Earth's core, it accelerates the universe towards a unique and imminent demise. As the Earth loses mass, humanity scrambles to innovate survival strategies and ultimately succeeds by creating pocket-dimensions. Within these pocket-dimensions, the laws of physics are not immutable, and they offer humanity a refuge from the advancing heat death.
To ensure my story remains engaging and at least semi-plausible to readers with a rudimentary understanding of physics, I am seeking scientific and creative advice on two key plot points:
Hypothetical Quantum Effect: Can you help me outline a theoretical quantum effect that would cause objects reaching certain high temperatures to vanish from existence? While we are venturing into the realm of speculative science, are there existing quantum theories or principles that could give my narrative's phenomenon a semblance of believability? How might such an effect relate to current theories about the nature of matter, energy, and the fabric of the universe?
Identifying the Root Cause: In the context of my story, how might scientists piece together the truth behind these bizarre events? What kind of experiments or observations might lead them to deduce that heat is the root cause of the universal cataclysm? How could they theoretically measure that the universe's maximum permissible temperature is decreasing?
Please bear in mind that while the story assumes an alternate universe with some differing laws, it should still retain a sense of coherence and intelligibility.