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The state of particle physics — a report from Pheno 2012

from Ars Technica

Science writer and Ph.D. physicist Matthew Francis recently attended the Phenomenology 2012 conference. He reports that no new results were announced, and to him, the conference provided a good overview of the state of particle physics. The LHC has already produced as many collisions as it had at the end of July last year, and the 2012 run of the LHC will increase the amount of data in the hunt for the Higgs by a factor of 10. Though the data so far points to a Higgs particle near 125 Gev, wise physicists are hedging their bets. Big problems loom in the theories that explain the results. The Standard Model does not predict exactly what the Higgs mass should be. Supersymmetry, a Standard Model extension, predicts a mass range for the Higgs boson that is much greater than 125 GeV. Supersymmetric particles, postulated to exist in SUSY, have not yet been detected. These particles could be a good explanation for dark matter. But the simplest form of the theory does not comport with the data, which means there are opportunities to develop more complex theories and uncover new physics. more

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