Where is Modern Physics going? Life beyond the Standard Model

Our best scientific model is able to explain only 4% of what surround us

The theories and discoveries of many physicists since the beginning of the last century have resulted in a remarkable insight into the fundamental structure of matter: the Standard Model.

Developed in the early 1970s mainly by Glashow-Weinberg-Salam, the Standard Model of particle phaysics is a well tested theory physics made of 17 elementary particles (6 quarks, 6 leptons, 4 bosons and the Higgs bons) all ruled by the electromagnetic, weak and strong force.

how many particles in the standard model


So far the Standard Model helped explain almost all experimental results and precisely predicted a wide variety of phenomena in the world around us, but we know there has to be something beyond the Standard Model.

How does Gravity exactly work?
What happened after the Big Bang?
WWhere has all antimatter gone?
How do we explain dark energy and dark matter?

Questions like those are the clear proof that something in our models is missing. Infact, the Standard Model contains no explanation of gravity, which is one of the four fundamental forces in the universe. It also does not explain astronomical observations of dark matter, a type of matter that interacts with our visible universe only through gravity, nor does it explain why matter prevailed over antimatter during the formation of the early universe. The small mass of the Higgs boson also suggests that matter is fundamentally unstable.

standard model formula cern

Is this making even more curious now? It is not finished. Check below the open questions that the Standard Modern is not able to answer.

Where has all the antimatter gone?

Whenever a particle is created (like for example, in a particle collision in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN) normally its antimatter counterpart comes along for the ride. When equal matter and antimatter particles meet, they annihilate one another.

In the Big Bang, almost exactly equal amounts of matter and antimatter were created. However, our Universe is now dominated by matter breaking the original symmetry between matter and antimmater. But why?

What makes up 96% of the Universe?

Everything we see in the Universe is made up of ordinary particles which are collectively known as matter, but scientists think this is only a fraction (less than 5%) of what exists. We can’t see what makes up the rest, but we believe that it’s made of dark matter and dark energy.

Scientists realized they were missing something when they noticed that galaxies were spinning much faster than they should be, based on the gravitational pull of their visible matter. They were spinning so fast that they should have torn themselves apart. Something we can’t see, which scientists have called “dark matter,” must be giving additional mass (and then gravitional pull) to these galaxies.

However, although we can tell something is there, it is incredibly difficult to detect.

How does gravity exactly work?

The Standard Model was not designed to explain gravity, actually it is pretty much incompatible with the General Relativity of Einstein. This fourth and weakest force of nature does not seem to have any impact on the subatomic interactions the Standard Model explains. But theoretical physicists think a subatomic particle called a graviton might transmit gravity the same way particles called photons carry the electromagnetic force. Thi hypotesis was further confirmed with the discovery of gravitational waves by LIGO.

We now ask: what is the smallest gravitational wave possible? Which is pretty much like asking what a graviton is.

gravity vs standard model

What happened after the Big Bang?

Everything in the Universe is believed to have originated from a dense and hot cocktail of particles which went on to shape our Universe into what it is today. Many of the particles created in the earliest moments of the universe rapidly decayed and it is only with machines like the LHC that scientists are able to create them at will in experiments.

Hopefully this potential new physics will be uncovered by LHC, ready after months of winter hibernation to shoot again subatomic fireballs of energy.


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