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Vacuum decay is the ultimate ecological catastrophe; in the new vacuum there are new constants of nature; after vacuum decay, not only is life as we know it impossible, so is chemistry as we know it. –Sidney Coleman & F. de Luccia

If I understand correctly, physical constants depend on the vacuum energy-density, not just cosmological constant. If we assume we live in false vacuum and it decays to true vacuum, can the new constants be predicted from the vacua's energy-density difference?

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You seem to be thinking of the situation in which the potential of the standard model Higgs has a second minimum. Masses in the standard model equal some coupling times the Higgs vev, so if the vev is different, then those masses are different.

But that is just the simplest possibility. If there are multiple scalars, or if (as in string theory) there is a complicated landscape of different configurations for the extra dimensions, the different vacua will differ by far more than just the value of a single vev. Properties of the vacua, like the particle spectrum, will depend on all the different details, and not just the value of a single energy density.

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  • $\begingroup$ Surely Coleman did not have string theory landscape in mind when he wrote that? $\endgroup$
    – innisfree
    Aug 17 '17 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ Coleman and de Luccia (writing in 1980) mention electroweak theory and grand unification as realistic theories where vacuum decay is relevant. $\endgroup$ Aug 17 '17 at 8:05

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