(New Scientist) Yesterday the Higgs was shy. Today it’s just plain boring. A rumour sparked by a CERN physicist on Twitter suggests the one remaining quirk in the Higgs boson’s behaviour has been all but wiped out by the latest data analysed at the Large Hadron Collider.
If the rumor is confirmed, it will end a nine-month hunt to pin down the exact nature of the boson, which began last July when it was announced. It will mean the Higgs boson is both a stunning theoretical triumph and, for those hoping the particle might have quirks that would hold clues to some big questions about the universe, a disappointment.
Detectors at the LHC do not detect the Higgs directly but look at the slew of particles that it decays into. One of the most intriguing oddities to surface last year was that the new particle appeared to decay into pairs of photon more often than our current best theory, the standard model, predicts the Higgs should.