A decades-long, multibillion-dollar search paid off in July when physicists at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva announced they had discovered the Higgs boson—a particle so fundamental that without it there would be no atoms in the universe—and therefore no stars, no planets, and no one to wonder about it all.
The Higgs holds a special place in physicists’ hearts (and equations) because it helps explain a baffling dichotomy in nature: Why do some particles have mass while others do not?
After analyzing 800 trillion collisions in two years’ worth of data, physicists at the LHC finally uncovered traces of the Higgs boson, and it fits neatly within its theorized bounds. Thus researchers have since turned their attention to other potential rule-breakers, such as supersymmetry, to attempt to explain the failings of physics’ current ruling paradigm, the standard model.
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