About 1,300 physicists from around the world studying the structure of the universe and fundamental principles of its formation have gathered together in Seoul to attend the International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) 2018 to be held in the South Korean capital from Wednesday. What questions are they raising with regards to the universe and how are they trying to solve them? Here are three most difficult conundrums that indulge experts in cosmology and physics.
The Standard Model, which offers exquisite explanations about “Almost Everything” about the universe, is called a monument of human intelligence. However, it has yet to be completed. The Standard Model cannot explain gravity, dark matter or dark energy. Therefore, discussions about a next generation of the Standard Model is an important topic at the ICHEP 2018.
“Supersymmetry” is one of the most widely studied theories as a candidate for the next-generation Standard Model. According to the theory, the Standard Model can explain only a small part of the entire particles, and each particle from one group would have an associated particle in the other, just like a decalcomania. Some of the particles are candidates for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) are thought to constitute dark matter. In this theory, the Higgs boson is not a single particle but multiple ones including those that convey gravity.
It requires a very long time to directly prove dark matter or supersymmetry with experiments, partly because some phenomena can be observed only under high energy conditions resembling those of the early stages of the universe. Even the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, cannot generate such a high energy. Just as Chinese philosopher Chuang-tzu’s saying that pigeons cannot comprehend the world of rocs, humans living in an low energy realm have yet to fully open the gate, which hides the huge secrets of the universe behind it. However, high energy physicists are discussing accelerator science at the ICHEP because of their expectation that they will get closer to the universe’s secrets someday when the humankind can control the energies of the early stages of the universe.