Nautilus

When Beauty Gets in the Way of Science

The biggest news in particle physics is no news. In March, one of the most important conferences in the field, Rencontres de Moriond, took place. It is an annual meeting at which experimental collaborations present preliminary results. But the recent data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), currently the world’s largest particle collider, has not revealed anything new.

Forty years ago, particle physicists thought themselves close to a final theory for the structure of matter. At that time, they formulated the Standard Model of particle physics to describe the elementary constituents of matter and their interactions. After that, they searched for the predicted, but still missing, particles of the Standard Model. In 2012, they confirmed the last missing particle, the Higgs boson.

The Higgs boson is necessary to make sense of the rest of the Standard Model. Without it, the other particles would not have masses, and probabilities would not properly add up to one. Now, with the Higgs in the bag, the Standard Model is complete; all Pokémon caught.

After the Large Hadron Collider (above) confirmed the Higgs boson, which validated the Standard Model,

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