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The Rise And Fall Of Supersymmetry

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From the Starts With a Bang blog by Ethan Siegel.


The Rise and Fall of Supersymmetry



[in conclusion]

At this point in the game, based on what we’ve seen (and haven’t seen) so far, it would be shocking if the LHC turned up evidence for supersymmetry. As always, continued experimentation will be the ultimate arbiter of nature, but I think it’s fair to say that the only reason SUSY gets as much positive press as it does is for two simple reasons.


1. 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, then string theory is wrong. Plain and simple.


2. There are no other good solutions to the hierarchy problem that are as satisfying as SUSY. If there’s no SUSY, then we have to admit that we have no idea why the masses of the standard model particles have the value that they do.


Which is to say, SUSY or not, physics still has a lot of explaining to do, and there’s work to be done. But the biggest problem is that SUSY predicts new particles, and it predicts their existence to occur in a fairly specific range of energies.

If they’re not there, then this isn’t the right story. At this point, the theoretical hoops being jumped through to keep SUSY “viable” (and yes, that belongs in air quotes) given our experimental null results are getting progressively more and more extravagant. I’m not much of a betting man, but if I were, I’d say that SUSY is already dead. It’s just waiting for the coffin nails to be hammered in.


As always in this field, the technical details are far above my head, but I find Siegel's explanations easily understandable. In this post he goes through the theoretical basis for SUSY and the lack of experimental observations so far that seem to show that SUSY seems to be the wrong answer to the Hierachy problem and without suspersymmetry, the theoretical support for string theory disappears.

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