In the end, it would not make sense if a theoretical concept put forward 40+ years ago showed up in Nature in precisely the predicted form, would it? Yet what ATLAS and CMS are seeing looks dangerously close to the Standard Model Higgs: the signal is showing up everywhere it should, and with roughly the size it should. Of course (now this is a serious of course) we’re in no position yet to make any quantitative statements about the properties of the Higgs. Indeed, measuring the couplings of the Higgs to matter will be the clue of the experimental particle physics program for the next 20 years. The more precisely we’ll measure these couplings, the bigger chance there is to catch a glimpse of new physics. Still, it is getting more likely than ever that the Standard Model is the correct description of physics at the TeV energies. This is dubbed the nightmare scenario; in the first place a nightmare for particle theorists who become expendable, but in a 30 years perspective also a nightmare for the entire particle physics program.
I’m no physicist, but there are two things about the search for the Higgs boson that I am compelled to mention. One is that Higgs always makes me think of the 1980s telvision program “Magnum P.I.,” and two is that while I understand that finally tracking the Higgs down is a valid, even spectacular, accomplishment, it does not really change anything, does it? Finding the Higgs is not as momentous as not finding it, it seems to me. What these intrepid folks have done is confirm what everyone was assuming, anyway.
It is a little like finding out the score of a ballgame after seeing the winning team’s fans set couches on fire in the street.