While experiments are telling us that low-energy supersymmetry and extra dimensions probably don’t exist (or are so constrained that they’re irrelevant), there are plenty of pieces of evidence that there’s more to existence than the Standard Model alone. What else is out there? There are five strong, independent lines of inquiry that reveal there’s got to be something.
During the last decade, when neutrino masses were constrained for the first time (via neutrino oscillations), it surprised many that they were found to be very low in mass, but to have definitively non-zero masses. Why is that? The general way of explaining this — the see-saw mechanism — typically involves additional, very heavy particles (like, maybe a billion or a trillion times more massive than the Standard Model particles) that are extensions to the Standard Model; without a new particle, their tiny, tiny masses (just a billionth of an electron’s mass) are completely unexplained. Whether see-saw-type particles exist or there’s some other explanation, these massive neutrinos are almost definitely, in some way, indicative of new physics beyond the Standard Model. More.
Right now, we are probably where European explorers were half a millennium ago, speculating about the land masses that appeared to be blocking their trade with China. Two things to note about the resulting discovery of the Americas: It was not what anyone expected. And it supported no exotic theory.
See also: Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train
Rob Sheldon on Roger Penrose, and physics gone off the rails
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