Russell Brunelle (russellb) wrote,
Russell Brunelle

What just happened

At least as I understand it, this seems to be the current state of affairs:

  1. By layman's standards the Higgs boson almost certainly exists, and was observed at the LHC with a mass of about 125GeV.
  2. CERN isn't going to definitively say that the Higgs boson exists until the chance that they're wrong is reduced from what it currently is to less than one in three and a half million, which barring some catastrophic accident at the LHC should happen by the end of 2012.
  3. If the 125GeV figure is correct, then this is apparently light enough to lend credence to at least one type of theory (broken "supersymmetry") which builds on the Standard Model, and particularly once the LHC is upgraded in 2014 to allow even higher energy collisions scientists will start looking for evidence of an as-yet unobserved supersymmetric partner of the Higgs boson. Such a thing (called a "Higgsino") could have combined with other such "superpartners" created en masse shortly after the beginning of the universe to form the lightest possible neutralino, and if so those neutralinos may be what actually comprises the universe's "cold dark matter." I poked around a bit and found this paper which seems to summarize how this search is going to proceed, though I lacked the background to even fully understand it much less evaluate it.

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