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Higgs boson update: it's cool, it exists, it's not necessarily so 'exotic'

Sharif Sakr

As a prominent musician once noted: all that hype doesn't feel the same next year, boy. And that's sadly proving true for our old friend Higgs boson, who shot to fame last Summer but is now waking up to find only a handful of fans camped outside his collider. Part of the problem is simply that things have become procedural and academic -- CERN scientists met in Italy this week to share their latest findings, but the updates were mostly either inconclusive or suggestive of a rather mundane-seeming subatomic entity.

At the time of Higgs' discovery, observers were especially interested in the possibility that this mysterious particle didn't decay in exactly the way science had predicted. It seemed to break down into an excess of photons, such that it might potentially reveal something unexpected about dark matter and the structure of space-time. But as data continues to be gathered, it appears more likely that the extra photons may have been a statistical anomaly, leading one researcher to admit on Twitter that his ATLAS team is "not too excited" about it anymore. Nothing is confirmed at this point, however, and other scientists have since tweeted to caution against jumping to conclusions. At least we can say for sure that Higgs still exists. And if the poor thing can't hold the universe together and mess with the laws of physics at the same time, then so be it.