Higgs Boson is Exactly What I Hoped it Wasn't
The famous Higgs Boson is showing new evidence of being exactly what theory predicts, which is actually a bit of a bummer.
Who can forget the summer of 2012 when CERN finally announced it had officially discovered the horribly monikered God Particle, properly known as the Higgs Boson. This is the particle (field) that imbues mass onto all particles everywhere that have…um…mass.
It does this by infusing the universe with a Higgs field. Particles that interact with that field are like seeds moving through water, responding to it in way that gives them mass.
The next obvious task for the CERN Scientists was to determine if Higgs was the exact particle predicted by the Standard Model of physics or perhaps some weird unpredicted cousin-particle. It could have even been an imposter particle that looked like a Higgs but had nothing to do with all that mass-imbuing.
After pouring thru some of the 100s of petabytes of data from 2011-2012, they believe they know. Scientists identified a handful of instances in which the Higgs decayed into something called a tau lepton. It sounds fancy but you can think of it as a very corpulent brother to an electron.
This is exactly what theory predicts should happen so why am I not happy? Because there was a faint hope that if we had discovered some unforeseen variant of the Higgs, then that might indicate brand-new physics to explain things that the standard model can’t deal with yet like Dark Matter and Gravity. This discovery will also dampen enthusiasm for alternate theories like supersymmetry in which all particles may have as-of-yet unseen and slightly different twin particles.
To be honest, I was never keen on all those twin particles anyway. Brothers and cousins are enough.
Image Credit: CERN