Science's Genuine Controversies

2 / 11
2 / 11

Is There Physics Beyond the Standard Model?

The hottest debate in physics is determining what, if anything, lies beyond the Standard Model.

The discovery of the Higgs Boson in July 2012 was a triumph for particle physicists. Predicting the existence of a particle based largely on theoretical calculations, building a gigantic machine to detect it, and then collecting trillions of data points to actually find it demonstrates the scientific method at its absolute finest.

But, there was a downside to this discovery. As Ethan Siegel wrote, "There is no need for any physics beyond the Standard Model." Why? Because the Standard Model successfully explains the data. And Occam's Razor (though not an official part of the scientific method) is a good rule to apply in this case: Why generate a convoluted theory based on particles and extra dimensions that we've never detected when a far simpler theory will do? While Supersymmetry and String Theory may not be completely ruled out, there's really no good evidence to accept them, either.

However, many high-profile physicists still hold out hope for something other than the Standard Model, and because of them, this topic remains unsettled.

(Image: Standard Model via Wikimedia Commons)

Related Articles