On 4 July 2012, scientists all over the world celebrated the extraordinary news that researchers had found indications supporting the existence of the Higgs boson. This crucial particle, whose existence was predicted as an outcome of theories developed in the mid-1960s1,2, was discovered by teams serving on the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the European particle-physics laboratory near Geneva in Switzerland. The finding was a crowning achievement for the LHC and the thousands of engineers, researchers, support staff, and technicians who worked to make it happen.
However, as the LHC prepares to begin the third of its planned five runs, some think this could be the final gasp for particle physics or, at least, for physics working with high-energy particle collisions.
Researchers intended to improve the existing theoretical description of fundamental particles and how they behave, also called the standard model of particle physics. However, it is deemed incomplete. Many are unhappy that the LHC hasn’t yet found any clues of something at odds with the standard prototype that could represent a step closer to a complete theory.
The standard model is a combination of theories developed between the 1950s and the 1970s. Despite its phenomenal accuracy, it does not involve gravity or dark matter, and it doesn’t illustrate the abundance of matter over antimatter in the Universe, not the characteristics of neutrinos.