To the dismay of those hoping for a radical new physics to emerge from the Large Hadron Collider, the latest data to emerge from the world’s most powerful particle accelerator matches the Standard Model’s predictions very closely. There is one anomaly, however: “Evidence of a few extra particles corresponding to something new at energies around 140 gigaelectronvolts. For now, physicists are only willing to call them ‘excess events’, but if the signal grows stronger as data accumulates, then it could be a sign of the Higgs boson.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Finding the Higgs boson, which is part of the Standard Model itself, would help to explain why some elements are heavy and others have no mass at all. “The Higgs would also be the key to combining the weak nuclear force with the electromagnetic force, into a single ‘electroweak’ force.” Some had hoped the data would point in new directions like toward the theory of supersymmetry “which postulates a shadowy world of heavy particles corresponding to familiar ones. These superparticles could explain dark matter, mysterious cosmic stuff that seems to interact with the visible world only through gravity.”