One of the leading updates to the Standard Model is called supersymmetry, or SUSY. The theory posits that particles in our universe should each have a twin that interacts with our world only weakly, providing a potential explanation for dark matter — the mysterious and inert substance that makes up almost a third of the universe. But the latest upgrade to the LHC, which nearly doubled the machine’s power and has it running nearly at its limits, hasn’t yet captured any signs of SUSY or other new physics. The Standard Model remains disturbingly intact.
“We measure the things very well that we know are there, especially the Higgs boson,” Meyer says. “And if there is nothing else they find that is new, we need to start exploring other types of experiments.”
But scientists are still combing through reams of data from the LHC, which will continue operating for years to come. So, the potential for new discoveries is far from exhausted.
“What we’re doing is very difficult,” says Matthew Buckley, a theoretical physicist at Rutgers University. “The universe never promised us that new physics would be easy to find.”