The Higgs Boson is the cornerstone of the new physics – Physics and Mathematics

The Higgs boson is only past history: despite its discovery ten years ago, this famous particle is still the cornerstone of discovering new laws of nature and opening the doors of so-called new physics. Its allies will be the particle accelerators of the future, more powerful and complex, and together they will be able to build new theories, capable of absorbing all the knowledge about particles, including those that make up dark matter and dark energy, which together occupy 95% of the world. “The universe. That is the ambition of more than 1,200 researchers who have gathered these days in Bologna for one of the world’s major scientific events, the International Conference on High Energy Physics (Ichep).

“We are waiting for the unexpected,” said Lucio Rossi, of the University of Milan and a fellow of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (Infn), trying to describe the air that has been inhaled into society in recent years. International Science. “The fact is – he added – that the more we measure, the more our reference theory, the so-called Standard Model, a kind of Magna Carta or scripture, explains very well what we study. But at the same time it does not explain 95% of the components of the universe, i.e. the mixture of matter Darkness and dark energy. And it doesn’t explain the Higgs boson either!” It may seem illogical because if the discovery of the Higgs boson is in many respects the greatest achievement of the Standard Model, it is at the same time the element that puts it in crisis. “It’s like finding an alien – added Rossi – that has some expected properties and some, however, are mysterious. This particle will probably be the predicament to enter this new physics that will have to unite everything we know and what we don’t yet know.”

For years, dark matter and dark energy have probably represented the greatest mystery to the world of physics, and to understand their true nature it is necessary to move forward from several fronts. Indeed, dozens of experiments around the world are underway, and there is much work to develop increasingly powerful particle accelerators, for example by exploiting innovative superconducting cavities, or increasingly sensitive sensors that exploit quantum phenomena, such as work born from a focused collaboration. Fermilab Sqms (Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems) with Infn. “We will soon be making simultaneous measurements at Gran Sasso, Padua and Fermilab using sensors so precise and sensitive that we may be able to detect the presence of dark matter,” said Anna Grassellino, director of the SQMS Center.

Even of neutrinos, the most elusive of the particles, there can be many other answers (or questions) about each: “Why is the universe made of matter and not antimatter?” , explained Alessandra Tonazzo, of the French University of Paris-Diderot, and part of a network of more than 1,000 researchers participating in Dune, a fascinating experiment in development that will attempt to capture so-called neutrino oscillations.

There are many challenges that physics will face in the near future”, and this position – emphasized Lucio Rossi – which in many respects reminds of what happened at the end of the nineteenth century, when one was convinced that he had understood many things but at the same time he realized “the arrival of Some ‘jolt.’” Shortly thereafter, physics was completely disrupted by Einstein’s relativity and strange discoveries in the world of quantum mechanics. “As in every waiting moment – he concluded – there are those who get excited and those who enter into crisis, there is clearly a need for Ideas and intuition, but at the same time, new elements of the puzzle and new or old test methods will appear only with increasingly powerful tools. theories”.

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