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What if the Higgs boson exists … but dark matter doesn’t?


In “Dark matter no-show hobbles elegant particle theory” (New Scientist, 19 July 2012), Lisa Grossman reports that dark matter (WIMPS) is proving much more elusive than the Higgs boson:

Either WIMPs are much lighter than theories originally predicted (Xenon100 was optimised for 100-GeV WIMPs), or they’re even more shy of ordinary matter than thought.

This in turn tightens the noose around certain versions of the theory known as supersymmetry, which some hope will extend the standard model, removing its many insufficiencies. The standard model was completed by the discovery of the Higgs boson this month, but it still doesn’t explain dark matter. In supersymmetry, every standard particle has a heavier “superpartner” particle, one of which could be a WIMP.

She adds,

If WIMPs don’t show up soon, though, it may be a sign that physicists are simply on the wrong track.

Sometimes, no news really is good news. Knowing we are on the wrong track means knowing something.

Here’s MSNBC’s take.

See also: John Horgan: Finding the Higgs “doesn’t take us any closer to a unified theory …”


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