You Gotta Believe!

UNICORNS EXIST!

The following items are discussed by various theoretical physicists as if they have been proven to be real entities in the physical cosmos. Actually none has ever been observed and most of these ad hoc unicorns probably never will be observed because they are pure fiction.

Hawking radiation

Virtual particles

Magnetic monopoles

WIMPs

Free quarks

Confined quarks (conveniently unobservable by theoretical fiat)

Sparticles

Strings/branes

Gravitons

Sterile neutrinos

Axions

Inflaton field (supposedly powers inflation)

Higgs boson (too unstable to be directly observed; must be inferred via decay products)

Higgs field

Higgs mechanism

Extra dimensions

Quintessence

“But”, you say, “these are crucial components of our standard liturgy for theoretical physics.” Exactly so! All these mythical epicycles may in fact be making a mockery of science, which is based on predictions AND empirical testing.