Physicists Find Elusive Particle Seen as Key to Universe –

This is fascinating from the viewpoint of philosophy of science — not the discovery itself, but what it may mean for physics.

Physicists Find Elusive Particle Seen as Key to Universe –

What we seem to have here is the beginning of a fight over whether the discovery of the ‘Higgs-like particle” confirms the “Standard Model” or introduces anomalies that will spur a scientific revolution. See in particular the penultimate quote in the article:

In an e-mail, Maria Spiropulu, a professor at the California Institute of Technology who works with the CMS team of physicists, said: “I personally do not want it to be standard model anything — I don’t want it to be simple or symmetric or as predicted. I want us all to have been dealt a complex hand that will send me (and all of us) in a (good) loop for a long time.”

An interesting question for the psychology of science, as well: what role do physicists’ wants and preferences play in the course of science? A very big one, I’d guess.

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