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Science

The Rise and Fall of Supersymmetry 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-needs-experimental-evidence-anyway dept.
Ethan Siegel at the StartsWithABang blog writes: "Have you ever wondered why the masses of the fundamental particles have the small values that they do, compared to, say, the Planck scale? Whether the fundamental forces all unify at some high energy? And whether there's a natural, compelling particle candidate for dark matter? Well, in theory supersymmetry (or SUSY, for short) could have solve all three of these problems. In fact, if it solves the first one alone, there will be definitive experimental signatures for it at the Large Hadron Collider. Well, the LHC has completed its first run, and found nothing. What does this mean for theoretical physics, for SUSY in particular, and what are the implications for string theory? A very clear explanation is given here; it might be time to start hammering in those coffin nails."
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The Rise and Fall of Supersymmetry

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  • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:29PM (#46404779)
    into M/String theory, when particles and wavicles fell out of favor in place of open- or closed-loops on the brane?

    Never mind - the presence of empirical data which tends to place supersymmetry in doubt is enough to convince me that either we need a better theory, or the existing theory needs a major overhaul.

  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:35PM (#46404809) Homepage Journal

    That's sort of the point. M-Theory might just be a dead end. If we don't find the supersymmetric partners in the next run of the LHC at the very least string/M theory will need considerable re-vamping if not a total scrapping.

  • Re:LHC Purpose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flaming error (1041742) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:42PM (#46404843) Journal

    "it not coming through with what was hoped"

    I think Science is not about confirming what we want to believe, but more just learning how things work.

    You're right that the LHC does it's job; the Higgs Boson is one of the century's biggest discoveries. And, incidentally, that confirmation was exactly what many hoped for. And disproving string theory was also something some hoped for.

    So I don't understand where the grumpy comes from. It's been a spectacular success.

  • Re:LHC Purpose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joe_frisch (1366229) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:48PM (#46404875)

    That's like complaining that the Michelson-Morley failed to measure the presence of the lumineferes ether, something scientists thought was very likely to exist. Science advances when you get a surprising result, not when you see what you expected. If the statistics support this, it is a MUCH more interesting result than finding the Higgs which was pretty much were people expected it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:01PM (#46404935)

    ...is disconfirm our beliefs.

  • hrm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:38PM (#46405111)

    I liked this article. The author did a good job of dumbing things down for us mortals. Super symmetry has been dieing since the day the LHC came online. But I have a problem with:

    A lot of people have invested their entire careers in SUSY, and if it’s not a part of nature, then a lot of what they’ve invested in is nothing more than a blind alley. For example, if there is no SUSY in nature, at any energy scale (including the Planck Scale, although this will be a challenge to test), then string theory cannot describe our Universe. Plain and simple.

    I seriously doubt many of the geniuses that dedicated their entire lives with Super Symmetry would consider it a blind alley. There's been some amazing math, and amazing theoretical work on it. It's a very very good theory. It's rather clear that this point that it's not correct, but whatever the truth really is (something we clearly haven't even imagined yet) will be helped greatly by the work done by those investigating super symmetry. The Wright Bothers didn't just hop in a plane and fly off... There were mountains of work by thousands of failures that they built their success on.

  • Re:LHC Purpose (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Warbothong (905464) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @05:46AM (#46406507) Homepage

    the Higgs Boson is one of the century's biggest discoveries.

    Whilst this discovery is great, I really hope that you're wrong! Roughly 100 years ago Rutherford discovered the nucleus (1911 according to WIkipedia); but in the same century we subsequently discovered the protons and neutrons which make it up, the pions which moderate their interactions, as well as the quarks they're made of and the gluons which moderate their interactions, along with a bunch of other bosons and mesons. We also discovered General Relativity (Special was already known by 1905) and Quantum Mechanics (including the standard model), black holes, neutrinos, W and Z bosons, muon and tau leptons and anti-particles for the above, as well as inferring the Big Bang, dark matter and dark energy and we gave Thermodynamics an information-theoretic renaissance.

    That's just in Physics alone!

    A century ago there was no heavier-than-air flight, whilst these days we complain that the food on our £30 flight is crappy. Walking on the moon became so routine that the public lost interest and we stopped bothering! A century ago there was no genetics or germ theory. Computers were people that were good at sums. Experimentalists were attempting to transmit sound via radio waves.

    I'm very much looking forward to this century's discoveries :)

  • by Glock27 (446276) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @08:44AM (#46407291)

    True, but when the "authority" is a Nobel Prize winning physicist specializing in the exact area being discussed it means something. Further, "appeals to authority" invite the reader to investigate the claim, including detailed arguments made by the authority.

    So, while not conclusive, an "appeal to authority" in this case is of interest.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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