The Large Hadron Collider is working its way up to full power, the most eagerly anticipated activation of anything Times Square's balloon drop on December 31st 1999. Many are eagerly anticipating the Higgs boson, while a few lunatics scream that spacetime will rip (so you should send them money), but a made-up sounding particle could steal the show. Will 2010 be the year of the Neutralino?
It might read like proof that particle physicists just mash their keyboard and call the result real, but the neutralino could be proof positive of supersymmetry, a theory which makes the Standard Model - core of subatomic science - look like the blurb on the back of the real book. The supersymmetric theory explains all sorts of problems with current theory by doubling the number of subatomic particles. Then claiming that most of them ran away.
Most of these supersymmetric particles disintegrated into components as the universe expanded and the energy was spread out - to see them again, we need something that can recreate the energy density near the origin of everything. While the biggest and baddest of the particles we could access is the Higgs, we could run into the neutralino - the (relatively) low energy supersymmetric partner of the neutrino - into which all other super-particles decayed.
The math tells us that these would shower out of high energy runs at the LHC, while Higgs would be buried in an avalanche of other data. If observed the new particles would confirm a whole host of heretofore hope-supported supersymmetry suppositions - and if thy aren't, they'll still confirm a lot of other ideas. Science is great like that.