When the Large Hadron Collider at Cern was first built it was with the intention of studying and eventually discovering the long sought after Higgs Boson. This long elusive particle was thought to be the theoretical presence in our universe that would eventually confirm our entire understanding of particle physics. When it began in 2008 it had with it fears that it may cause the end of the world. But now it seems all the fuss could have been for nothing as scientists begin saying it’s increasingly unlikely the Higgs Boson exists – at least in any way we could possibly observe.
The discovery that the Higgs Boson doesn’t exist throws a great deal into question, but the long history of the LHC and the search for the particle is itself an epic tale that would bring about a great deal of frustration if it turned out to be all for nothing. It all started when something called the Standard Model was started. The standard model was first developed with the discovery of quarks in the 1970’s and was developed over time throughout the past century. It has been beneficial to physicists partially because of its high level of prediction when dealing with new and previously unexplored forces.
But there was always supposed to be a single particle – the Higgs Boson – to make it all make sense by the beginning of the millennium. But the boson is running out of places where it could be – causing some to question whether it may or may not exist at all. Are we looking at the end of the old model of physics? Or the beginning of something entirely new? As has been shown throughout the history of physics, whenever a problem arises there is always an explanation offered eventually by some brilliant mind. These new theories are able to move along entirely new trains of logic and break down barriers we once thought impossible.
This is partially a slap in the face to scientists as they have wondered since July about the mysterious string of data that was analyzed suggesting they may have found the hiding place of the Higgs boson once and for all. Unfortunately, it turns out this was not the case. As the data was analyzed later, they discovered it was unlikely to be where the Higgs Boson was and was instead merely a series of coincidences that precipitated the early celebrations among the more eager of the CERN scientists.
But physicists are hardly blaming CERN or the LHC, both of which have operated in a more complex system than any other constructed by human hands up until this point. The Large Hadron Collider is not only one of the most advanced pieces of machinery on Earth, it is also one of the most expensive. And if it can either prove or disprove particle physics, the scientific communities of several countries will still consider it a journey worth undertaking. Just as science is a series of discoveries, there is the other less mentioned side to it – the series of failures that often precedes such an incredible revelation.