It is very unlikely that Fermilab’s new findings on the mass of the Wboson mean that the standard model is broken. It will be exciting if it does. This is not to say that their experimental findings are wrong. Fermilab themselves propose the much more likely possibility that we need to compute the predicted values more precisely in the standard model. Another possibility that occurs to me is that we scientists need to both compute the values predicted by established theory even more precisely and also extend the established theory a little bit.
The new #Wboson mass value shows tension with the value scientists expect based on the Standard Model. If confirmed, this measurement suggests the potential need for improvements to the Standard Model calculation—or extensions to the model. pic.twitter.com/fh2Rfd7o9z— Fermilab (@Fermilab) April 7, 2022
That’s the key to understanding this story. I strongly recommend that the interested public read their tweets on this.
What Is The Standard Model
The Standard Model of Particle Physics is tied with General Relativity for being the most tested scientific theory ever. Dozens of experiments agree within their collective precision on what the key values it predicts are. The Standard Model of Particle Physics predicts the masses and other properties of fundamental particles such as quarks (which comprise protons and neutrons), electrons (and particles like them). The aforementioned being a class of particle called a fermion. Because fermions cannot be in the same quantum state at the same place at the same time, they are what we tend to think of as matter.
The standard Model is often presented in this form for the public.
This is the standard model in its final form. Its so complex that it is possible that even the scientists who work with it approximate the predictions it makes. In most cases the field equations derived from it will not have exact analytical results.