It is all quiet on the particle physics front

Experimental side of elementary particle physics is very expensive and technically challenging. Theoretical side involves very difficult calculations requiring supercomputers. Esoteric BSM (beyond Standard Model) theories are waiting for confirmation. It seems that there will be decades before we find hints about deeper reality. After decades of hard work we will probably find just hints, nothing more. This will not stop physicists, however. They will move forward with great enthusiasm, I am sure.

Progress in elementary particle physics takes time. People who are interested in this field have to accept this. But, I observe that anxiety among particle physicists is growing. The current state of “no news” is very disturbing.

The most recent wave of excitement was created when Fermilab E989 collaboration announced the results from the first run of their muon g-2 experiment on April 7, 2021. Following the news there were hundreds of newspaper articles, blogposts, videos about the results. The hype was that a new particle was discovered. This is not true (not yet).

It has been 9+ years since the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs boson. Since then experimentalists have been hard at work. The amount of work is very impressive. The results are rather modest, however.

Experimental exploration of the Higgs field and its quantum Higgs boson is an ongoing effort. At this point, it seems that the next generation of particle colliders known as Higgs factories will be necessary to learn the details of the Higgs field. Experimental verification of Higgs coupling to 3rd and 2nd generation fermions have been established. Verification of Higgs coupling to 1st generation fermions (electron, u-quark and d-quark) will be extremely difficult to establish due to overwhelming background noise.

Elementary particle physics will probably advance in 3 fronts:

  • Higgs factories: based on different versions of colliders (circular proton-proton collider, circular electron-positron collider, linear electron-positron collider). Geographical locations in Europe, China, Japan. The U.S. is no longer investing in colliders dedicated to elementary particle physics.
  • Neutrino experiments: American decision makers do not like particle colliders but they are willing to spend money on neutrino experiments. I don’t blame them. I also think that we will learn more from the neutrino experiments. The nerve center of neutrino experiments is Fermilab.

For news and expository articles in elementary particle physics I prefer the CERN Courier site. Few selections:

Targeting a Higgs Factory

B_s decays remain anomalous


Exploring the Hubble tension

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