Higgs quest deepens into realm of 'New Physics'

Jul 02, 2014 by Mariette Le Roux
A worker walks past equipment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, during maintenance works on July 19, 2013 in Meyrin, near Geneva

Two years after making history by unearthing the Higgs boson, the particle that confers mass, physicists are broadening their probe into its identity, hoping this will also solve other great cosmic mysteries.

Sifting through mountains of experimental data, they have now pieced together a partial sketch of the evasive boson's traits and behaviour.

But, some of them admit to be puzzled.

The better they become acquainted with the Higgs at the infinitely small quantum level, the further the experts seem from explaining certain cosmic-scale questions, like dark matter.

"The observed characteristics of the Higgs boson, such as its mass, interaction strengths and life-time, provide very powerful constraints on our understanding of the more fundamental theory," Valya Khoze, director of the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP) at Durham University, told AFP.

From next year, scientists will smash sub-atomic at ever higher-speeds in the upgraded Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, which announced the Higgs discovery on July 4, 2012.

Not only will they hope for new particles to emerge, but also for the Higgs to show signs of, well, weirdness.

So far, the Higgs has conformed well to the traits predicted in the Standard Model of , the mainstream theory of how our Universe is constructed.

Too well, for some.

The model has weaknesses in that it doesn't explain dark matter or dark energy, which jointly make up 95 percent of the Universe. Nor is it compatible with the theory of gravity.

Scientists have proposed alternative theories to explain the inconsistencies—like supersymmetry which postulates the existence of a "sibling" for every particle in the Universe and may explain dark matter and dark energy.

Explanation of the role of the Higgs Boson particle

No proof of such symmetric particles has been found at the LHC, currently in sleep mode for an 18-month overhaul to super-boost its power levels.

Supersymmetry, additionally, predicts the existence of at least five types of Higgs boson, and physicists will thus be watching the LHC Higgs closely for signs of behaviour inconsistent with the Standard Model.

'New Physics'

"It would give us a very good hint that there is physics there beyond the Standard Model and that there's new, additional physics coming soon," said Dave Charlton, who heads the ATLAS experiment at the LHC.

"It could help to explain many of the other problems we have in physics at the moment."

The LHC is a facility of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) which celebrated its 60th anniversary on Tuesday.

The Higgs boson is a cornerstone of the Standard Model, a theory developed in the early 1970s to explain the five percent of the Universe composed of visible matter and energy, all carried by fundamental particles.

But some of the boson's newly discovered properties have left physicists scratching their heads.

For starters, they don't understand how it can have such a small mass.

Nor is the evidence consistent for the role it played in the development of the early Universe after the Big Bang—issues that may be resolved by so-called New Physics the experts hope will follow soon.

When the LHC fires up again next year, scientists will be on the lookout for new particles, including other types of Higgs, and possible "invisible decays" of the boson to indicate the presence of .

"All of the particles of the Standard Model have now been discovered," said Charlton.

"If we see new particles, it's something new... if we see new particles, it will point to something whether it is supersymmetry or some other new theory.

"It will tell us that the Standard Model is broken, that there is something else."

Charlton said we may never know if the Higgs found at the LHC was exactly the Standard Model version or something that just resembles it.

Themis Bowcock, particle physics head at the University of Liverpool, said confirmation of several Standard Model predictions over the past two years have placed a new focus on what is not yet known.

"It allows us to step back and view the boundaries of our knowledge with a keener eye," he told AFP.

"We realise we have mastered our closest and most obvious challenges, but like a 15th century navigator we are motivated to venture beyond our mapped lands to discover the missing 95 percent—the New World."

Explore further: Evidence found for the Higgs boson direct decay into fermions

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User comments : 25

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mb9
3.3 / 5 (8) Jul 02, 2014
When are they going to stop calling it the "god particle"? Quite sad if you think about it, everytime man encounters something it doesn't understand, a god needs to be invoked to explain it.
Reg Mundy
1.3 / 5 (14) Jul 02, 2014
While the Higgs "has mass" it fails to "confer mass". I wish the powers that be would stop saying that it does. And also the assumption that Dark matter exists, (and Dark Energy) when there is no actual proof they exist - can't they accept that they are only possibilities, not proven certainties dependent on the existence of gravity as a force?
Returners
1.4 / 5 (16) Jul 02, 2014
The "Standard model" is eventually going to be replaced, just like the "Plumb Pudding" model of the Atom.

Also, Probability =/= reality.

Reality is what IS.

Probability is just the chance that would have happened within the other laws you already know.

Currently, too many "discoveries" are announced solely based on "probabilities," without enough concrete evidence of the discovery and it's true properties.

While the Higgs "has mass" it fails to "confer mass". I wish the powers that be would stop saying that it does. And also the assumption that Dark matter exists, (and Dark Energy) when there is no actual proof they exist - can't they accept that they are only possibilities, not proven certainties dependent on the existence of gravity as a force?


Well, I've found two effects within the Newtonian Dynamics which are never modelled properly, which actually explain stellar orbital speed observations, and at least some of inter-galactic "mass discrepancies".
Returners
1.6 / 5 (17) Jul 02, 2014
When you start with a bad assumption, very often you will get a bad conclusion.

One assumption made by physicists is that the universe is the result of highly randomized mass and energy distributions. The universe is quite flat on the whole, but quite grainy on the localized scale.

Their problem is they assume everything was random (since they believe only in naturalism, and only model naturalism,) then they must look for more "random" sources to explain galaxies. They couldn't get galaxies as we know them to form in simulations without using Dark Matter, but they've made several faulty assumptions there.

1, We don't know the exact mass of Kuiper Belt objects in our own solar system, and some evidence there may even be another ice giant out there, so how would we know all the brown dwarfs and planet masses in ordinary galaxies?

2, If you start with an assumption of randomness, and don't find what you want to find, is it "science" to keep adding more sources of randomness?!
I say no
Doiea
Jul 02, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
arom
1.6 / 5 (12) Jul 02, 2014
So far, the Higgs has conformed well to the traits predicted in the Standard Model of particle physics, the mainstream theory of how our Universe is constructed…..
The model has weaknesses in that it doesn't explain dark matter or dark energy, which jointly make up 95 percent of the Universe. Nor is it compatible with the theory of gravity.
Scientists have proposed alternative theories to explain the inconsistencies—like supersymmetry which postulates the existence of a "sibling" for every particle in the Universe and may explain dark matter and dark energy....
"It would give us a very good hint that there is physics there beyond the Standard Model and that there's new, additional physics coming soon,"


New physics? Maybe actually it is just the Higgs field in which we are not yet talking about in detail, and indeed it could give the desired answer ….
http://www.vacuum...=9〈=en
DeliriousNeuron
1 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2014
Here we go...more confusion
OKilic
not rated yet Jul 02, 2014
Like many other images on PhysOrg, the infographic titled "Explanation of the role of the Higgs Boson particle" is too small to read comfortably, especially since your "enlarge" function is usually useless in enlarging the image. I like PhysOrg, so please take this as constructive criticism towards improving the site.
George_Rajna
Jul 03, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
AmritSorli
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2014
Higgs boson giving mass to particles is a "bed" joke".

http://article.sc...3.11.pdf
Doiea
Jul 03, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
theon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 04, 2014
Is it only me getting sick by the claim that the high energy sector of the standard model should explain dark matter? The neutrino sector with warm (keV) and hot (eV) dark matter has a much better chance, in particular at the galactic level where WIMPs fail badly. Hence the standard model can really be working, with the "new physics" restricted to the anyhow ill understood sector of active and sterile neutrinos.
Technico
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 04, 2014
Is it only me getting sick by the claim that the high energy sector of the standard model should explain dark matter?
Yes, you're completely right: the supersymmetric particles, even if they would exist must be of very low mass, the GeV collisions have no meaning for their finding here at all. But this is just the problem of SUSY theory, it predicted its WIMPs particles to exist in heavy energy sector originally. Now all SUSY theorists are leaving it as a single man and trying your luck somewhere else. After all, the Higgs search was quite blind from its very beginning. Well known "hierarchy problem" implies, that quantum corrections can make the mass of the Higgs particle arbitrarily large, since virtual particles with arbitrarily large energies are allowed in quantum mechanics. e guesses go from 109+-12 GeV to 760+-21 GeV, plus two unconventional theories with 1900 GeV and 10{18} GeV.
theon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 04, 2014
With the eternal claims of SUSY and WIMP dark matter, for which no shroud of evidence exists, workers in the field are not only overselling their case, they are also blinding themselves for other proposals. What will their excuse be if that stuff is really ruled out?
Technico
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 04, 2014
What will their excuse be if that stuff is really ruled out?
IMO whopping 90% of contemporary physical research is plainly missleading if not wrong. The physicists as an individuals are only partially the main culprit here, as this evolution can be predicted and explained easily with water surface analogy of space-time. The physicists are simply predestined to be fooled with their formal attitude in reality understanding. And I'd live with it quite well, if such a mistakes wouldn't be connected with ignorance if not active dismissal of really important findings helpful for human civilization. This ignorant attitude is actually what makes the total contribution of the mainstream physics of the last fifty years rather negative. Currently the physicists are looking for jobs desperately, while they're ignoring the fundamental findings of the recent fifty years - just because in their blind belief and misunderstanding of existing theories. This is indeed a deeply religious attitude.
Technico
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 04, 2014
The somewhat desperate attitude of contemporary theorists illustrates the recent shift in their thinking: when all attempts to find an new WIMPs particles predicted with SUSY failed experimentally, they started to speculate, whether the existing Higgs boson couldn't be one of the searched WIMPs. It's like to say, that the dark matter is formed with Higgs bosons: a complete misfit at the energy density scale. Note that until the the Higgs boson is scalar boson, its superpartner cannot be even ordinary fermion, but so-called Goldstone boson, i.e. Majorana particles to say at least. This insight excludes the neutrinos in the role of Higgs superpartners sufficiently by itself.
Doiea
Jul 04, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Doiea
Jul 04, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
theon
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 04, 2014
In my opinion, theorists have started to believe their theories beyond reason; I don't think this would have happened in the nineteen fifties. Today's dogmas include supersymmetry, cold-dark-matter, inflation, dark energy, string theory and for some: many worlds, the multiverse and emergent gravity. But one must realize that there exist two things that are very big: the Cosmos and Hilbert space. If you get lost in either, it may take a long while to find your way back.
otero
Jul 04, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Reg Mundy
1 / 5 (4) Jul 04, 2014
The scientists who have unified all of the forces except gravity have in fact unified all forces, as gravity does not exist as a force. They should take a step back and think about this.
Uncle Ira
3 / 5 (2) Jul 04, 2014
The scientists who have unified all of the forces except gravity have in fact unified all forces, as gravity does not exist as a force. They should take a step back and think about this.


How long they supposed to think it over before it start making some kind of sense to them? If they haven't caught on by now, maybe you are not explaining right. I mean, I'm not the smartest Skippy here, so it's not big surprising that I haven't caught on. But a person would think that by now at least one of the scientist-Skippys, if only one, would have figured it out by now with your help.

I ask before but you not answer. What this theory of yours is? How it work? Is like the plasma magnet theory the other secret-science-Skippys have? Or is a better theory than theirs is? Not that it would take much to be better than that one no.
theon
1 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2014
gravity does not exist as a force


I have heard this before and I have been able to design a definite experiment, that can be carried out even without having a grade in academia: Take a stone, hold it above your toes, and drop it gently. Don't forget to report the outcome.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 05, 2014
Interesting article with the usual annoying nitpicks.

- "The model has weaknesses in that it doesn't explain dark matter or dark energy,".

That is a strength, seeing how DM/DE wasn't observed until the last two decades or so. The primary weaknesses is that it doesn't include neutrino or the full Higgs mass itself, nor does it predict baryogenesis. (Which phenomena may then be connected, e.g. maybe neutrino physics predict baryogenesis symmetry breaking.)

- "Nor is it compatible with the theory of gravity."

That is backwards.

As a quantum field theory it is as compatible with gravity as any other (semi-classical gravity).

On the other hand gravity theory is as compatible with quantum field theory as other effective theories (can be quantized to give gravitons). But gravity isn't fully compatible with quantum physics. (It is known that the effective theory eventually breaks down at higher energies/curvatures.)

[tbctd]
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 05, 2014
[ctd]

- "The [magic agency] particle".

Why use a name for science that scientists, for good reasons, abhor and avoid?
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 05, 2014
This is, with the exception of some like Uncle Ira here, an echo chamber of crackpots. No one can respond to the mass of fractal error displayed, nor is it useful seeing how most is just trolling science.

But some saner points that are well worth respond:

@Reg Mundy:

Well, the Higgs does confer mass, gives invariant mass to some standard model particles.

Similarly, we do have incontrovertible evidence of dark matter and dark energy, within the LCDM cosmology and independently (CMB peaks/weak lensing et cetera; accelerating expansion).

@Reg Mundy, theon:
Gravity is in our best theory of general relativity not a proper "force", it is a pseudo-force interaction when you look closer. (Curvature, not field acceleration.) Of course you can still model it as a force if you want.

When we have a quantum theory of gravity it may well turn out to be a field force after all, albeit a highly non-linear such.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.1 / 5 (7) Jul 05, 2014
[ctd]

@Returners:

In the most general physics we have, quantum mechanics, probability _is_ reality. As in physics, you don't understand probability theory. Classic Dunning-Kruger. (Look it up. Better yet, look up probability theory while you are at it, you make so many mistakes that you need remedial studies rather than other pointers.)

@Doeia: No, we know Higgs # gravity. For one thing, the invariant masses it gives are not proportional to field energy.

@theon: Their excuse will be "that stuff is really ruled out". That is progress, by the quick rote of easy pickings no less. It may even be worth a Nobel Prize or two. E.g. Einstein got his Nobel prize by ruling out classical physics as behind some quantum phenomena.
Reg Mundy
1 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2014
gravity does not exist as a force


I have heard this before and I have been able to design a definite experiment, that can be carried out even without having a grade in academia: Take a stone, hold it above your toes, and drop it gently. Don't forget to report the outcome.

Done it. The stone keeps still, the Earth pushes my toes up to crash into the stone...
Is that the best you can do, you silly boy!
Reg Mundy
2 / 5 (4) Jul 05, 2014
@TLOMigod
@Reg Mundy:

Well, the Higgs does confer mass, gives invariant mass to some standard model particles.
No, it has mass, it does not confer it.

Similarly, we do have incontrovertible evidence of dark matter and dark energy, within the LCDM cosmology and independently (CMB peaks/weak lensing et cetera; accelerating expansion).
Codswallop! No hard evidence!


@Reg Mundy, theon:
Gravity is in our best theory of general relativity not a proper "force", it is a pseudo-force interaction when you look closer. (Curvature, not field acceleration.) Of course you can still model it as a force if you want.

When we have a quantum theory of gravity it may well turn out to be a field force after all, albeit a highly non-linear such.
Yes, its a model. There is absolutely no explanation of what it is. Curvature in the space/time continuum? A fairy tale!
theon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2014

Done it. The stone keeps still, the Earth pushes my toes up to crash into the stone...
Is that the best you can do, you silly boy!

Repeat the experiment. Physics is about reproducible experiments
Reg Mundy
1 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2014

Done it. The stone keeps still, the Earth pushes my toes up to crash into the stone...
Is that the best you can do, you silly boy!

Repeat the experiment. Physics is about reproducible experiments

It needs independent assessment. Can you do it for me, using a large rock and your head?

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