After the Higgs mania, in the cold light of 2012, let’s think back to the basic scepticism of reality-physicists for the current ‘standard model’ and string ‘theory’ – which is a string of conjectures without principles such as energy conservation.
Einstein wrote in the 1931 Commemoration volume of essays, that Maxwell tried to find a mechanical model for light vibrations, but “the equations themselves were all that was essential” and “the field intensities… were elementary, not derivable from other simpler entities.” Since Maxwell, Physical Reality is viewed as “represented by continuous fields, governed by PDEs and not capable of any mechanical interpretation.”
“This change in the conception of Reality is the most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton”, wrote Einstein, and that notwithstanding Quantum Mechanics, physicists will be brought back to “Maxwell’s programme” ie. “the description of Physical Reality by fields which satisfy without singularity a set of partial differential equations.”
Einstein however failed in his life-project to develop a ‘unified field theory’ covering all physical forces. So current models of Physical Reality still require massive ‘particles’ as well as the fields.
Whatever the outcome over the Higgs, the current ‘standard model’ cannot be the ultimate answer – it doesn’t include the gravitational field while its ‘photons’ are inadequate in modeling the e-m field. Pretty secure as a basis for combatting Higgs mania and delusion!