Physicists Bummed That Physics Is Pretty Much What They Expected

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A scientific nightmare is coming true.

LHCnow_615.jpg

Reuters.

The Large Hadron Collider discovered the Higgs boson. Hooray! Success for the big machine! 

But not really. 

The discovery of the Higgs means that an entire era of physics -- in which the so-called Standard Model of particles was theorized and then proven -- has come to an end. And the LHC is not creating any new mysteries to investigate. Physics is following the predictions too closely. 

"Despite all this build up of theoretical expectations, there is no experimental hint of anything outside the Standard Model at the LHC.  Hence the long faces and worried words wherever theorists gather to drink coffee," reports physicists Glenn Starkman over at Scientific American. "Hence the disappointment in the eyes of the young experimentalists looking forward to the next accelerator, the next frontier where their mark will be made."

It sounds almost funny given the buildup around the Higgs in the mainstream media, but this was *the* worst-case scenario for the LHC when it was just getting fired up in 2008. Science Magazine even ran an article in 2007 proclaiming: "Physicists' Nightmare Scenario: The Higgs and Nothing Else."

And that's exactly what we have so far. 
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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