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A newly glimpsed boson is prompting celebration around the world, but the particle could yet break the model that it is credited with completing. Or so most physicists hope.

Although spotted at last, many properties of the new particle - thought to be the Higgs boson, or at least something similar - have yet to be tested. What's more, the telltale signature it left in the detectors at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) does not exactly match what is predicted by the standard model of particle physics, the leading explanation for the known particles and the forces that act on them. So it is possible the new particle is something much more exotic, such as a member of a more complete model of the universe that includes the mysterious entities of dark matter and gravity. That would end the standard model's supremacy, but it would also be a cause for even greater celebration than the discovery of the Higgs itself.

"Many of my colleagues and I think that this discovery on Wednesday may mark the beginning of the end of the standard model," says Georg Weiglein of the German Electron Synchotron research centre (DESY) in Hamburg. "Maybe these little deviations from the standard model really build up to a significant deviation. Maybe once we make this more precise with more data we will see that this is not the standard-model Higgs."

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