A scientific nightmare is coming true.
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 is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology.