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CERN’s historic discovery of the elusive Higgs boson — the subatomic particle thought to be at the root of what gives normal matter its mass — may actually represent only a portion of a more complicated and heretofore unexplored particle physics paradigm, say researchers.

After new analysis of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)’s Higgs observations, the authors of a paper recently published in the journal Physical Review D crack the door on the possibility that the actual particle detected by CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) may not be fundamental (or point-like). Instead, they argue it could be a composite particle made up of two even smaller techni-quarks, bound by a theoretical “Technicolor” force. Even so, much of the particle physics community still needs convincing.

The idea of such a new “Technicolor” force has been around for more than three decades and appears to have worn out its welcome among many theoretical physicists. That’s likely in part because it would require a new force of nature, which to many seems ad hoc.

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