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Sidebar: Solving the Higgs Puzzle

WANTED: NEW PHYSICS
Whatever keeps the Higgs mass near the 1-TeV scale must come from beyond the Standard Model. Theorists have advanced many possible solutions. The Large Hadron Collider will decide. Here are three promising lines:

SUPERSYMMETRY
What tends to elevate the Higgs mass is its interaction with so-called virtual particles—copies of quarks, leptons and other particles that temporarily materialize around the Higgs. But if each particle species is paired with a superpartner, the two will offset each other, holding down the Higgs mass.

TECHNICOLOR
Perhaps the Higgs is not a truly elementary particle but a bundle of more fundamental constituents, much as the proton is a mini galaxy of quarks and gluons. Then the Higgs mass would derive mostly from the energy of its constituents and would not be so sensitive
to high-energy processes that add to its mass.

EXTRA DIMENSIONS
If space has dimensions beyond the familiar three, particles might interact differently at high energies, and the conjectured unification energy might not be as high as physicists now think. The hierarchy problem would be recast or even eliminated.

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