That’s the question that physicists around the world will surely be asking after they read the news after seeing the results from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC):
Running continually at an unprecedented energy level of seven trillion electron volts since March 31, 2010, the LHC has been amassing petabytes of data that are being analyzed by a grid of interlinked computers worldwide in search of the missing boson. And yesterday, August 22, at the Biennial International Symposium on Lepton-Photon Interactions at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India, the bombshell was dropped: CERN scientists declared that over the entire range of energy the Collider had explored—from 145 to 466 billion electron volts—the Higgs boson is excluded as a possibility with a 95% probability.
Now the fight ain’t over yet. First of all, 95% percent probability is not 100%; the Higgs might still pop up tomorrow. There’s also the possibility that it exists at different energy levels than the ones tested, though other particle accelerators have searched at lower energy levels. But at the moment things aren’t looking too optimistic for Boso the Particle.
Personally, I’m very much in favor of these results. I think there should be some unsolved problems in physics and in other sciences as well. How are we supposed to hold the interest of children–or adults, for that matter–if we already know everything. A little bit of mystery in the physical universe is a good thing.