Bear with me. I have a villain who wants to get ahold of a nuke, except I'm not sure why exactly. I think he thinks he can create a singularity that would swallow up the entire universe (which believe it or not is actually what he wants), but I don't know just how crazy that is.

Basically I'm asking you to help my villain get from A) acquire nuclear warhead to B) destroy existence.


P.S. Alternatively, what could one crazy world leader do to possibly bring about the aforementioned end of existence that didn't necessarily involve a nuke?

  • $\begingroup$ In a present day scenario? $\endgroup$ Aug 13 '17 at 2:13
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    $\begingroup$ Space is big. It is bigger than you can imagine. It is easy to abstractly think about how far light can travel in a year, but by the time you've considered just the diameter of this galaxy alone you've gone through about 100,000 of those. If you look through the eye of a sewing needle at the night sky, that gap encompasses an unthinkable number of stars in AT LEAST several thousand galaxies. $\endgroup$
    – Sean Boddy
    Aug 13 '17 at 5:10
  • $\begingroup$ Is it important that the technique actually work or can the villian just really really believe it does? $\endgroup$ Apr 13 '18 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ No, nukes destroy most things within a couple of km and do some damage further out with basically a big explosion. And it can't feasibly be big enough to destroy the earth, let alone the whole universe. $\endgroup$ Apr 13 '18 at 16:43

You can't do it with a nuclear weapon. But you could conceivably do it with a particle accelerator more than a million times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider. It's theoretically possible that the current vacuum state of the universe is only metastable, and a lower-energy vacuum state exists. A single event with sufficient energy could trigger the collapse of the current vacuum state to the lower-energy one, which would then spread at the speed of light destroying everything. But it would have to be very high energy, since cosmic ray collisions have been observed with energies a million times higher than we've ever managed with current particle accelerators, and those collisions have obviously not destroyed the universe.

  • $\begingroup$ Definitly what I was going to say : false vacuum decay, while higly hypothetical, is a fearsome possibility that requires a minimum amount of suspension of disbelief (since it could happen, just with a bit of handwavy new scientific breakthrough) $\endgroup$
    – Keelhaul
    Aug 13 '17 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ A funny thing would be trying this, and at the end of the book, it doesn't work. $\endgroup$
    – PyRulez
    Apr 13 '18 at 16:09

A gravitational singularity is mathematically at the center of a black hole. There are thought to be many black holes in the universe, so to create a singularity that would swallow up the entire universe only requires the most massive black hole and time. A lot of time. As we understand it today, that would only require a black hole with a mass of 40,000,000,001 (yeah, forty-billion-and-one) solar masses — and far more time than the age of the Earth will ever be.

Can a nuclear bomb do that? No. Heck no.

Can one crazy world leader do it? No. Heck no.


Crafting a good story is about helping the reader to suspend their disbelief. You don't need to be right. You need to be believable enough. Therefore, let me introduce you to the Butterfly Effect, a concept within Chaos Theory that poetically suggests a butterfly in Texas can be the cause of a huricane in China.

Your problem will be figuring out a way to end the universe quickly. Quickly, as in soon enough to represent a real threat that the old lady next door would care about. Well, maybe not necessarily that soon, but you get my drift.

So, let's examine this a moment and see if it takes us anywhere. You don't want an explosion, so a nuclear weapon is useless. Why? Because to create a singularity you need to bring mass together, and explosions do just the opposite (ignoring the tendency for nukes to convert mass to energy, which doesn't help matters).

What you need is an implosion. Something that can draw a fearsome amount of mass together to form the largest singularity in the universe.

But, if you think about it, an implosion that could do that would destroy the universe just in the attempt to make the singularity that you you've been selling as the universe's coup d'jour. The implosion being much more threatening than the end result (and an embarrasing PR nightmare on top of that)... the end result is a confusing story. OK, so the implosion, which frankly would be a whomping difficult problem to explain in a believable manner in the first place, doesn't leave us with the intended bugaboo anyway.

So let's think about subatomic particles. They're all over the place. Let's say you can send waves out with subatomic particles. This might be believable enough that you could postulate for your story the use of subatomic particles to destroy the universe. No, you're not sucking everything into one unbelievably massive black hole. I've proven to myself that that particular plot element is too much to sell. What you're doing instead is setting a blanket that covers the universe on fire. And fires are started with matches. Suddenly, it's possible to come up with the butterfly you need to create your huricane. What might go "boom!" that would create enough disturbance in the sub-atomic ether such that the universe is sterilized?

I don't know... but I expect you'll have fun figuring it out!

  • $\begingroup$ " What might go "boom!" that would create enough disturbance in the sub-atomic ether such that the universe is sterilized?" - whatever that is, my disbelief is running wild and free already. $\endgroup$ Aug 13 '17 at 4:03
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    $\begingroup$ :-) C'mon, @JohnDvorak! The OP's new to the site and I'm always happy to encourage imagination. I'd hate for all sci-fi to be hard-science, that would be boring! $\endgroup$ Aug 13 '17 at 4:09
  • $\begingroup$ Okay then. But I still have to wonder how the mad scientist discovered this mechanism without testing it once (remember, you can't create a localized bubble of true vacuum), why it had never occurred by itself already (doable), and why the world's governments buy his story instead of stashing him away in a bedlam house (known savant that has undergone a face-heel turn? But if it's a face-heel turn from an undercover government position, I'd recommend shooting him in the face before he has time to develop anything). $\endgroup$ Aug 13 '17 at 4:16
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    $\begingroup$ 40 billion solar masses is NOT the mass required by a black hole to encompass the entire universe. Instead, IIRC, it is the mass of the largest BH ever "observed". To have a BH with the event horizon the size of the visible universe, you would need, oddly enough, all of the observable universe mass (wich is quite a bit more than 40 billion solar masses) $\endgroup$
    – Keelhaul
    Aug 13 '17 at 7:23
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH Good to see that an answer with fun and humour. Down with boredom! Viva la imagination! $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Aug 13 '17 at 9:25

Nuclear bombs are pretty big thing on human scale, sure. But if you compare them with cosmological scales, they look like a 4 weeks kitten trying to scare off a pack of full grown T-rexes.

Just to give you some numbers to back the previous sentence up, the Tsar bomb (the biggest nuke we naked apes exploded) explosion lasted less than 1 second. Our Sun is doing much more than that for already 4.5 billion years, still didn't manage to destroy the universe and will never do simply because it is too small.


I have a villain who wants to get ahold of a nuke

I think he thinks he can create a singularity that would swallow up the entire universe

That's exactly backwards, since a singularity has intense gravity (which of course pulls things in), while a bomb blows things out.


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