Higgs boson running out of places to hide

I’m starting to get whiplash from all this back-and-forth on the Higgs boson (aka the “God particle”), but now its existence is really looking doubtful:

Scientists chasing a particle they believe may have played a vital role in [the] creation of the universe indicated on Monday they were coming to accept it might not exist after all.

But they stressed that if the so-called Higgs boson turns out to have been a mirage, the way would be open for advances into territory dubbed “new physics” to try to answer one of the great mysteries of the cosmos. …

“Whatever the final verdict on Higgs, we are now living in very exciting times for all involved in the quest for new physics,” Guido Tonelli, from one of the two LHC detectors chasing the Higgs, said as the new observations were announced.

You have to admire their willingness to drop the Higgs hypothesis if it doesn’t work out. The idea has been around for decades, and a lot of hopes were pinned on it being right. But the willingness to go where the data take you is what moves science forward.

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7 thoughts on “Higgs boson running out of places to hide

  1. Me, too, especially because it’s difficult to start over. Scientists are only human — we get attached to certain ideas for all kinds of reasons — but if a person is committed to truth above all, then, however imperfectly, science progresses.

  2. LOL!

    But even if they were just making Spirographs, would that be a bad thing? From The Simpsons “Radioactive Man” episode:

    Dr. S: “Wait! Did you know that there’s a direct correlation between the decline of Spirograph and the rise in gang activity? Think about it.”

    Bart: “I will.”

    Dr. S: “No, you won’t.”

  3. Heh! No, I didn’t remember that quote; it’s been too long since I’ve seen that episode :)

    Of course, this quote is still one of my top ten: “My eyes…the goggles do nothing!”

  4. That episode is eminently quotable — one of my favorites.

    I dunno if you’ve noticed, but I’ve found that there are very few situations in life for which there isn’t a relevant Simpsons episode or quote.

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