One Higgs boson down, er, FIVE new bosons to go?
Supersymmetry also changes the Higgs boson - instead of one discrete particle, there'd actually be five popping out of the Higgs field.
The lightest of these five bosons would be very similar to the one standard Higgs, but its properties would be slightly different. To lend weight to the theory, physicists first need to measure what they've found very, very accurately and then start the search for the other four bosons.
The other theory is the idea of extra dimensions will sweep away the problem of the Higgs boson's infinite mass. At extremely high energies, particles from the dimensions we can observe would enter these extra dimensions and alter while they were there.
Reality is sometimes more interesting than sci-fi's cheesy
parallel universe wormholes, like this one in TV drama Sliders
"Extra dimensions predict certain new things due to new phenomena, not just the Higgs, just like supersymmetry doesn't just change Higgs by introducing new Higgs bosons but other particles as well," the boffin said.
"So the way you would tell the difference between the two is by looking for these other phenomena too. There's a lot of analysis taking place right now at the LHC beyond just the Higgs search," Sphicas laughed.
For the questions that can't be answered this year, many more clues are expected to turn up when the LHC is ramped up in three years.
"It just makes the whole choice of making a machine that was capable of operating at 14 TeV look so wise now from our perspective two decades later," he marvelled.
"Because by having this extra boost, being able to go from 8 TeV to 14 TeV, will bring us closer to SUSY for example. The data will we gather now at 8 TeV till the end of the year will not be able to totally close down SUSY and say look if we haven't found it with this data, she doesn't exist. That we won't be able to make as a statement by the end of this year, we need the higher energy.
"If there are no signs of SUSY at this higher energy, 14 TeV, in 2015-16 then SUSY's in trouble, she probably does not exist," he explained.
Whether or not there'll be another collider to take over from the LHC when it has completed its highest energy run is up for debate. Sphicas believes that boffins will have a thirst for higher-energy colliders, but it will take a truly international effort to make it happen.
"It has to be conceived from the very beginning as an international worldwide effort and that's the only way it could possibly happen, it can't be called American, Japanese, European or anything else," he said.
"I think that's where the world is heading anyway in terms of large scientific endeavours, it's just that our field is to some extent leading the pack when it comes to the extent of international cooperation." ®
Mirror universe particles...
...will be recognisable due to their little goatee beards.
Re: Oh.. alright..
Glad to know that the smallpox virus does not matter then.
Re: Is there an end point?
I've often wondered if Godel's Theorem applies. If we consider physics model X to be a mathematical system in which questions can be asked and results proved, and if physics model X includes the ability to do arithmetic within the model (i.e. using experiments to do sums), then Godel's Theorem seems to imply that physics model X has to be either incomplete or inconsistent. Incomplete meaning some questions cannot be answered; inconsistent meaning you can solve the same problem two ways and get different results.
Science prevents physics model X from being inconsistent - if an inconsistency were found, it would be known to be a flawed model (c.f. physics model X = general relativity + standard model).
The universe's own physics is by definition complete - every experiment has a result.
So, if the true laws of physics are consistent, this seems to induce an infinite chain of physics models X,Y,Z, each a meta-model for the previous one (c.f. general relativity being a meta-model for Newtonian grativation) and each getting closer to, but never quite reaching, the truth.
OTOH, with quantum weirdness and all, it may be that the universe is not consistent (in the sense of Godel's Theorem) since the same question can give different answers at different times. In that case, there could be a complete theory of everything, only thanks to quantum weirdness.
And perhaps that ultimately explains why the universe has to have quantum weirdness.