Recently, Eliyahu Comay published a scientific paper demonstrating that the Higgs Boson cannot exist. If he is right, and the Boson will not be discovered in the current experiment in Switzerland, the Standard Model, on account of which several scientists won the Nobel Prize, is likely to collapse.
Throughout the last century, theoretical physics had experienced a golden era, with the development of Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, resulting in far-reaching shifts of our apprehension of reality. These theories, demonstrated by many experiments, constitute the foundation of nearly every aspect of theoretical physics, and the basis of the impressive technological developments of our time.
These achievements boosted additional research fields, including studying matter’s fundamental structure, an enigma that has been preoccupying human beings ever since the early Greeks. This field, called “Particle Physics” or “Elementary Particles”, studies the nature of material particles and the interactions between them. The theory currently admitted as best accounting for the experimental findings, is called “The Standard Model”.
Looking for the Higgs
One of the building blocks underlying this theory is a particle called “The Higgs Boson”, named The God particle in the popular literature due to its critical role in the Standard Model. So far, the particle has never been observed in experiments which were supposed to discover it. Physicists who stand for the Standard Model assume that the reason the particle hasn’t been observed is that experimental energies weren’t high enough. To overcome this, (and in order to make further discoveries), the most complex scientific device ever built by man – The LHC particle accelerator at the CERN research laboratories in Switzerland- has recently been completed. The accelerator is the result of an international endeavor involving over 100 countries. The non- discovery of the Higgs particle under these ultimate conditions would be a serious blow on the Standard Model. Professor Shlomit Tarem from the Technion, the head of the Israeli research group in LHC says: “If we don’t find Higgs then it doesn’t exist, and therefore the Standard Model is not valid”.
Is this plausible?
Most physicists working in the field would answer “no” almost automatically, because this eventuality would shake the foundations of the theory on which a whole generation of particle physicists grew up.
However, other physicists, some of them famous and some of them less well-known, claim that not finding the Higgs is not only plausible, but inevitable. They argue that the Higgs Boson doesn’t exist, and that the scientific community will soon face a new situation, and witness a spectacular collapse of a theory considered unshakable, for which several Nobel Prizes were granted.
Eliyahu Comay is a senior theoretical physicist who has already proved his capacity to solve complex problems. For example, in 1967, Nobel Prize winner William Shockley together with R. P. James presented a paradox called “the hidden momentum”. For decades, many scientists tried to solve this paradox, until in 1995 Comay came up with an explanation specifying the explicit nature of this momentum.
Comay expects the upcoming CERN experiment to show something totally different. He is convinced he has the proof that the Higgs Boson cannot exist. In addition, he predicts that this experiment will further confirm that the structure of matter is fundamentally different from that described by the Standard Model.
The opposition to the “Standard Model”
Comay is not alone. There are quite a few physicists, some of which are very well- known, who object the theories adopted by the mainstream. One of Quantum Mechanics’ forefathers, Nobel laureate Paul Dirac, claimed in a lecture he gave in 1978 that a certain equation, the developments of which serve as basis to the Standard Model (the Klein – Gordon equation) is wrong . He further claimed that theoretical physics should be based exclusively on solid mathematical grounds. He therefore, as is also described in his recently published biography, positioned himself in opposition to the model. Another opponent is Stephen Hawking, a physicist specializing in General Relativity and the author of the book “A Brief History of Time”. Prior to the launching of an experiment in a high energy accelerator about a decade ago, Hawking proposed to make a bet with anyone willing to take the risk that the Higgs Boson would not be found. The particle was not found in that experiment, and Hawking renewed his offer with regard to the present experiment as well.
Another opposition to the Physics establishment, is denying developments beyond the Standard Model. Peter Woit published in 2006 a book with a funny name: “Not Even Wrong – the failure of String Theory“. The book received supporting reactions from physicists who felt that academic world hinders freedom of thought. Another book, “The Trouble with Physics“, presenting a similar approach, was published on the same year by another theoretical physicist, Lee Smolin.
This opposition seems to be grounded. They sustain not only the existence of mathematical incoherences in the equations underlying the Model, but many of the experimental findings contradict the theory or are not explained by it.
Do we know everything?
In order for a theory to be scientifically true, experimental success is not enough. It should have no significant failure. Surprisingly, problems do exist, but they hardly seem to bother anyone. In fact, they do not appear in the textbooks, and are thus condemned to oblivion. This maintains the illusion that the theory is complete and precise. Even first grade physicists are not aware of these problems. For example, Nobel laureate Gerard T’Hooft says “The first thing we expect – we hope to see – is the Higgs“. Whereas in 2008, another Nobel laureate – Martinus Veltman – expressed his concern that after finding the Higgs at the LHC experiment, the Elementary Particle Physics field might come to an end, as knowledge about material particles would be complete and no further research would be required. But when Veltman was asked by Carlo Rubbia, another Nobel laureate, if he agreed to give back his prize in case the Higgs Boson is not found, Veltman evaded the question humorously: “Sorry but I’ve already spent all of it”.
Are these physicists aware in the secret of their hearts, that the main theory in their field is totally shaky? 10 years ago, only one person stood up to Stephen Hawking’s challenge of betting that the God particle, the Higgs Boson, shall not be found. This is thought-provoking. Had the Higgs Boson been based on a solid, coherent theory, such as Special Relativity or Quantum Mechanics, a horde of students would jump in to win the jackpot on the account of some weirdo. The meager response to Hawking’s challenge may mean that physicists do secretly cultivate serious doubts about the Model’s veracity.
The decisive moment approaches
Near the Swiss city Geneva, a 27 kilometer particle accelerator was built by CERN, some 50 -175 m under the ground. Sections of the accelerators are being cooled down to a temperature of 1.9 degrees above the absolute 0. At these temperatures, Helium becomes a super-fluid. The low temperature allows the creation of extremely intense magnetic fields based on electrical superconductivity. High energy protons running through these magnetic fields are forced into moving in a closed circle. The goal of this set up is to be able to observe proton collisions in energies almost 10 times higher than any other experiment ever conducted in particle accelerators. Billions were invested in the project. The experiment was launched towards end 2008 but one of the devices collapsed and the experiment was aborted. Since then, technological improvements were installed in the installation and it’s currently starting to run again. Standard Model supporters are sure that this experiment will reveal the Higgs Boson, without which the model can not survive.
Comay has two predictions about this experiment, both in complete contradiction to the Standard Model.
The first prediction is, of course, no genuine Higgs Boson will be found. The second is related to the alternative theory he developed. Comay predicts that the results he expects will raise new contradictions to the existing models, which, he believes, should have been abandoned long time ago. This time, the world’s largest proton accelerator is being scrutinized by many, and it will be hard to conceal or disregard results. We will soon find out whether the elusive Higgs Boson is discovered and the knowledge about matter is complete, as Martinus Veltman said, or, whether the findings require new ways of thinking in order to pursue the journey towards the comprehension of matter.
Another little story
A couple of years ago, just before the first launching of the experiment in the particle accelerator, Comay told one of his colleagues that if the genuine Higgs Boson is found, he commits to retire from physics forever. I then asked him what is the probability he was wrong, and that everyone is right after all, and that the particle does exist. He immediately responded: one to ten thousand. And after a second thought, he added- I didn’t say that the probability is zero, so as not to sound arrogant.
 Dirac P A M 1978 Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Theory Ed Marlow A R (New York: Academic). See pages 3 and 4