Discovering the Higgs particle was a triumph for the Standard Model of particle physics. But as I noted, it would have been more interesting from a physicist’s perspective if the Higgs hadn’t been found. It would have meant that the Standard Model failed in a rather impressive way.
Well, perhaps what the Higgs couldn’t deliver on, the BaBar experiments might. Essentially detectors are seeing too many heavy particles – something that the Standard Model can’t explain.
“As described in a new paper in Physical Review Letters, the BaBar collaboration measured a decay process of the bottom (B) quark, the second-heaviest such particle. This decay process produces leptons, the class of particles including electrons, neutrinos, muons (a common product of cosmic rays), and taus. The latest BaBar results indicate more taus were produced than the SM predicted. However, the results were also inconsistent with the predictions of SUSY. While the uncertainties on these results are still large, they are similar to earlier data from the Belle Collaboration in Japan.”
It’s not terribly surprising that there are issues with the Standard Model. It’s known to be incomplete – and there are still things that need to be done to fill out the gaps. But this result is also pretty significant for another way of looking at things (Super Symmetry) that has a number of enthusiasts as well.
The Standard Model has issues with neutrinos having mass (pretty well believed to be the case now) and doesn’t allow for Dark Matter at all. The good news is that this will keep post-docs and grad students in ramen for a good while yet. And it’s a reminder that even given the triumph of the theory this summer, science is still pretty incomplete when thinking through things in the quantum realm. So… theologians ought not be too quick to jump on the latest ideas to find justification for metaphysical musings.