Monday, July 2, 2012

How the Discovery of the Higgs Boson Could Break Physics

If gossip on various physics blogs pans out, the biggest moment for physics in nearly two decades is just days away. The possible announcement on July 4 of the long-sought Higgs boson would put the last critical piece of the Standard Model of Physics in place, a crowning achievement built on a half-century of work by thousands of scientists. A moment worthy of fireworks.
But there’s a problem: The Higgs boson is starting to look just a little too ordinary.
As physicists at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider prepare to present their latest update in the hunt for the Higgs boson — the strange particle that exists everywhere in space and interacts with all other elementary particles, giving them their mass — other physicists are preparing for disappointment.
That’s because scientists have been secretly hoping all along that, when they finally found the Higgs, it would be an interesting particle with unexpected behaviors — even somewhat unruly. A perfectly well-behaved Higgs leaves less room for new, exciting physics — the kind that theorists have been wishing would show up at the LHC.
The current situation has some physicists starting to worry and, if coming years fail to turn up interesting results, the field could be headed for a crisis.
Since the mid-20th century, particle physicists have been developing a theory known as the Standard Model, which accounts for all the known forces and subatomic particles in the universe. While this model has proven time and time again to be extremely good at predicting particles and forces that were later discovered experimentally, it is not the final theory of everything. The Standard Model still has various problems that stubbornly refuse to cooperate.
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1 comment:

city said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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