So the Higgs has been found, and although early investigations pointed to possible discrepancies that could result in new physics theories, these have been subsequently ironed out. As a result, the Higgs now fairly solidly confirms the Standard Model.
The Standard Model has been around for about fifty years and describes how matter is made up, consisting of Leptons, Quarks and Bosons. So far there are six Leptons, six Quarks (grouped together as twelve Fermions) and five Bosons, including the Higgs.
Fermions are the particles that form matter while Bosons are “force carriers” creating light, electromagnetism and radiation and control how Fermions interact.
The mathematics of the Standard Model are complex but have proved remarkably resilient, holding up against all manner of challenges over the years, and now with results from observations of the Higgs it has again been bolstered.
However, although the latest results confirm the Higgs’ place inside the Standard Model, the model itself has some fundamental flaws. Although it works very well at the (relatively) low energies humans can harness, it falls apart at higher energies such as existed shortly after the Big Bang.
For one thing, nothing in the Standard Model accounts for Gravity. Gravity is considered a fundamental force in the Universe; after all, we wouldn’t be here without it! But it’s completely missing from the model.
Another problem is that the Fermions have extremely wide ranges of Mass and Bosons similarly have a huge range of strengths and operating distances. For example, Gravity is so wide-ranging that it holds planets in orbit and causes stars to cluster together over hundreds of light years to form galaxies and yet is so weak on a local scale that a fridge magnet can hold something up against its pull. This paradox is known as the Hierarchy Problem and is also unexplained in the Standard Model.
Then we have the issue of Dark Matter. According to recent findings there is five times more Dark Matter in the universe than ordinary matter, but again the Standard Model doesn’t account for this.
This is a maddening and incredibly frustrating situation. The Standard Model holds up so well under normal situations and survived numerous tests with amazing accuracy and yet we know that it has such gaping holes in it. Imagine knowing almost everything and yet knowing it’s wrong
Unfortunately a “boring” Higgs provides little hope of discovering new physics and forces us to look elsewhere. Like everyone interested in knowing how the Universe works I’m waiting eagerly!