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Supersymmetry MUST BE true

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5 dimensions in 2

A few blogs are commenting on the still-paywalled Scientific American article, “Supersymmetry and the Crisis in Physics,” quoting

It is not an exaggeration to say that most of the world’s particle physicists believe that supersymmetry must be true—the theory is that compelling. These physicists’ long-term hope has been that the LHC would finally discover these superpartners, providing hard evidence that supersymmetry is a real description of the universe…

Of those who think that modern methodological naturalism isn’t a religion, one must ask: What sort of beliefs (other than mathematical axioms) must be true? Surely, only beliefs that have attained the status of a religion.

Very well, we aren’t against religion. But what if nature does not co-operate? From the article,

Indeed, results from the first run of the LHC have ruled out almost all the best-studied versions of supersymmetry. The negative results are beginning to produce if not a full-blown crisis in particle physics, then at least a widespread panic. The LHC will be starting its next run in early 2015, at the highest energies it was designed for, allowing researchers at the ATLAS and CMS experiments to uncover (or rule out) even more massive superpartners. If at the end of that run nothing new shows up, fundamental physics will face a crossroads: either abandon the work of a generation for …

Either face reality or retreat into a cult.

Not Even Wrong has apposite comments. See also: Supersymmetry at a crossroads? No kidding! Again?

For a brief look at how we got here, see The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).

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5 Replies to “Supersymmetry MUST BE true

  1. 1
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Popper said that any scientific idea must be testable and falsifiable. IOW, it must be a real possibility that experimentation will refute the theory.

    When a proposition cannot be falsified, when it “MUST” be true, then knowledge discovery is prevented.

    It is a great irony that many modern rationalists quote the Church vs Galileo as an historic example of authoritarian knowledge prevention, without ever recognising much of modern science in the description.

  2. 2
    Mapou says:

    Supersymmetry is a logical consequence of a Yin-Yang universe. It is as inescapable as left/right, up/down, yes/no and other complementary pairs. If experiments contradict the standard model, it is not because supersymmetry is wrong but because the standard model is wrong. The more likely conclusion is that the quark hypothesis, which is no more than a modern Ptolemaic predictive model, is on its deathbed.

  3. 3
    ppolish says:

    From my SciAm hardcopy….
    “But without supersymmetry, the stability of the vacuum depends sensitively on the mass of the Higgs: a heavier Higgs implies a stable universe, whereas a lighter one implies eventual doom. Remarkably, the measured Higgs mass is right on the edge, implying a long-lived but ultimately unstable vacuum. Nature is trying to tell us something, but we don’t know what.”

    Nature is telling us to stop using terms like “Remarkably”? I mean come on, there can only be so many “remarkablies” to go around.

  4. 4
    tjguy says:

    Scuzzy, I agree with your post but I want to give a bit of a different perspective to the Galileo issue.

    It is a great irony that many modern rationalists quote the Church vs Galileo as an historic example of authoritarian knowledge prevention, without ever recognising much of modern science in the description.

    Where did the idea of the sun revolving around the earth originally come from?

    It was the reigning paradigm in the scientific world at that time. It did not originate in the Bible.There are parts that don’t even agree with the Bible, so the question is WHY was the Church defending this doomed scientific theory?!

    But the Church jumped on the idea and claimed the Bible supported it, even taught it. Why? Here is a quote from an article on creation.com:

    It found itself in that position because it accepted the argument of Aquinas that the biblical texts which contradicted Aristotle should not be pressed as the Bible was not written in technical philosophical language. Moses spoke the language of his day. This is not to say that the church should have accepted readily the new astronomy. In its neo-Pythagorean mysticism1 it was no more biblical than Aristotle was. Those who want to say that the Bible is written in the popular language of its day and should not be pressed where it differs from modern philosophical-scientific structures cannot claim to have learnt from the Galileo affair. They are merely repeating the arguments that helped to put the church in that situation.

    This was a big mistake to take current scientific ideas and read them into the Bible. But they haven’t learned their lesson yet. The Catholic Church still leans toward reading evolution into the Bible and accepting secular cosmology.

    Sure, the Church was too inflexible on this point. This kind of science is very reliable. It can be tested, repeated, and observed so it is quite dependable. The Church should have recognized this.

    But modern cosmology is a wreck. It cannot be tested. It doesn’t work without a lot of theory saving rescue devices and it doesn’t agree with the Bible in many areas. The same is true of evolution. Let’s not be persuaded to give in so easily this time.

  5. 5
    Barb says:

    From the OP: “most of the world’s particle physicists believe that supersymmetry must be true…”

    Okay. That sounds like faith (the blind, gullible kind) not science, but okay.

    “…results from the first run of the LHC have ruled out almost all the best-studied versions of supersymmetry.”

    If the evidence does not fit the hypothesis or theory, you revise the hypothesis or theory. What’s so hard about that? It’s part of the scientific method!

    “The negative results are beginning to produce if not a full-blown crisis in particle physics, then at least a widespread panic.”

    See above. If the evidence does not fit the hypothesis, change the hypothesis. Or is supersymmetry going to be like evolution in that it explains everything?

    “If at the end of that run nothing new shows up, fundamental physics will face a crossroads: either abandon the work of a generation for …”

    The evidence comes first, not the theory. If the evidence doesn’t support your theory, then your theory needs re-working. Simple as that. Deal with it, cosmologists.

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