We May Not Have Discovered the Higgs Boson After All
When CERN scientists discovered a particle that was experimentally proven to be the elusive Higgs boson, it was touted as one of the greatest scientific discoveries in recent memory. But, according to a new study from the University of Southern Denmark, the discovered particle may not have been the "God particle" at all.
After the discovery of a candidate particle in 2012, several calculations seemed to confirm that it was, in fact, the Higgs boson. The particle had zero spin, positive parity, consistent decay patterns, and several other quantifiable properties that were in line with the Standard Model conception of the Higgs particle. The authors of the most recent paper don't dispute these calculations, and concede that this particle may very well be the Higgs boson, but they contend that the calculations are also consistent with other hypothetical particles.
"The CERN data is generally taken as evidence that the particle is the Higgs particle. It is true that the Higgs particle can explain the data but there can be other explanations, we would also get this data from other particles," said co-author Mads Toudal Frandsen. "The current data is not precise enough to determine exactly what the particle is. It could be a number of other known particles."
They specifically speculate that the particle could be a techni-Higgs particle. The proposed techni-Higgs particle is very similar to the Higgs particle, which would make the results of previous experiments more understandable, but it yields a very different picture of the universe. The existence of the Higgs boson goes a long way towards confirming the Standard Model of particle physics, which accurately describes three of the four known forces of nature: electromagnetism, strong nuclear force, and weak nuclear force. However, it does not explain gravity as conceived by general relativity or the expansion of the universe, which requires the presence of dark energy by way of explanation.
The techni-Higgs, on the other hand, would introduce a completely different model of physics altogether. The particle would consist of techni-quarks, which are hypothetical elementary particles that cannot be held together by any known force of nature. If these particles exist, then a fifth force of nature (tentatively called the technicolor force in the paper) must exist in order to bind the techni-quarks together to form those particles, which would mean throwing the Standard Model out the window. (On the plus side, it would mean that Stephen Hawking was correct.) The existence of the techni-Higgs rather than the Higgs particle would also help explain the expansion of the universe, as certain combinations of techni-quarks theoretically produce dark matter.