[/caption]It’s a Higgs boson. No. We’re not talking about some swarthy seaman standing at the helm of a boat and keeping watch. We’re talking about a hypothetical massive elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. Its presence is supposed to help explain our lack of consistences when it comes to theoretical physics – and observing it has been one of the prime functions of the Large Hadron Collider. But the LHC hasn’t found it yet. As a matter of fact, we might wonder just what else it hasn’t found…
Right now, scientists have answered – or at least postulated the answer to – some very ponderous questions that lay just beyond the scope of the standard model. One of the foremost is the existence of dark matter. To find the solution, they’re using a model called supersymmetry. It’s an easy enough concept, one that states for every particle a stronger one echoes it at higher energy levels. The only trouble with this theory is that there isn’t any proof of these “super-particles” to be found yet. “Squarks” and “gluinos”, the antithesis of quarks and gluons, have been canceled out at energies up to 1 teraelectronvolts (TeV) of the standard model, according to an analysis of the LHC’s first year of collisions.
It should be easy, shouldn’t it? Given the broad spectrum, there should be simple members found within the supersymmetric models – even leaving the more complex and energetic to be explored at another time. But “the air is getting thin for supersymmetry”, says Guido Tonelli of the LHC’s CMS collaboration. At the same time, there is no sign yet of gravitons – particles that transmit gravity and are essential for a quantum theory of the force – below an energy of 2 TeV.
This lack of findings is causing some folks to wonder if we’re expecting answers to the wrong questions, but Rolf-Dieter Heuer, CERN’s director general is more optimistic. He knows the LHC has only produced about 1/1000th of its eventual data. “Something will come,” he says. “We just have to be patient.” But what of the Higgs boson? So far it has only been a blip on the LHC screen. “We will have answered the Higgs’s Shakespeare question – to be or not to be – by the end of next year,” Heuer predicts.
Original News Source: NewScientist News and Wikipedia.