How stable is our vacuum?

@article{Hut1983HowSI,
  title={How stable is our vacuum?},
  author={Piet Hut and Martin J. Rees},
  journal={Nature},
  year={1983},
  volume={302},
  pages={508-509}
}
It is possible that the vacuum state we live in is not the absolute lowest one. In many spontaneously broken field theories a local minimum of the effective potential, which can be quite stable, can exist for certain parameter values. The Universe, starting at a high temperature, might have supercooled in such a local minimum. If such a metastable minimum is separated by a high enough barrier from the absolute minimum, the tunneling rate from the ‘false’ to the ‘true’ vacuum may be slow enough… 

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