An astrophysicist explains why we “gotta” go beyond the Standard Model of the universe:
The governing theory of particle physics explains everything about the subatomic world … except for the parts that it doesn’t. And unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of flattering adjectives that can be applied to the so-called Standard Model. Built up bit by bit over the course of decades, this theory of fundamental physics is best described as ungainly, hodgepodge and MacGyver-ed together with pieces of string and chewing gum. Still, it’s an incredibly powerful model that accurately predicts a tremendous variety of interactions and processes. Paul Sutter, “Where Are All the ‘Sparticles’ That Could Explain What’s Wrong with the Universe?” at LiveScience
In short, the model works just fine but astrophysicists don’t like it. Many have made clear that that is because it looks so much like fine-tuning of the universe.
The proposition is simple, when we get right down to it: Even if a model that implies fine-tuning is “incredibly powerful” and “predicts a tremendous variety of interactions and processes” it must be rejected in favor of costly, futile, or even crackpot efforts to find something else that people can be got to believe. One recent search that appears to have come up dry is for “Long-lived supersymmetric particles, sometimes called sparticles for short” (Sutter).
Alan Barr: The theory of ‘Supersymmetry’ extends the Standard Model, and solves many of its problems. The clearest prediction of this grander theory is that for every known type of particle there should be a Supersymmetric partner particle, known as a ‘particle’… Our team has looked for the signs of particular sparticles – the so-called ‘squarks’ and ‘gluinos’ – from the data recorded by ATLAS last year. Our results show is that if these sparticles do exist, they must be heavier than previously thought. They must weigh more than about 800 protons – otherwise we would have seen them already. (2011) Pete Wilton, “The search for sparticles” at Phys.org
And how’s the search coming in 2019? According to Sutter:
Simply put, we can’t find any partner particles. Zero. Zilch. Nada. No hints of supersymmetry have appeared in the world’s most powerful collider, where particles are zipped around a circular contraption at near light-speed before colliding with each other, which sometimes results in the production of exotic new particles. It doesn’t necessarily mean that supersymmetry is wrong, per se, but all the simplest models have now been ruled out. Is it time to abandon supersymmetry? Maybe, but there might be a Hail Mary: long-lived particles. Paul Sutter, “Where Are All the ‘Sparticles’ That Could Explain What’s Wrong with the Universe?” at LiveScience
Calling this stuff science does not transform it into a rational endeavor. A rational endeavor includes more deep and more honest analysis of why the Standard Model is so widely hated even if it may well be correct.
Note: Hail Mary is one of the most-loved prayers of the Catholic Church. Saying it daily helps many people with crushing problems. But, to clarify, its proponents do not claim it is science and would rather its name was not used in these contexts.
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See also: How did Stephen Hawking get to be “world’s smartest scientist”? Top People need a multiverse. The rewards go to those who can conjure one. Hawking did his best within the boundaries of science and is to be commended for going no further. We have heard and will hear plenty from those who show no such qualms.
What becomes of science when the evidence does not matter?
Supersymmetry A Beautiful Idea, Lacking Only Evidence “Strictly speaking, Susy can never be formally disproved. It can always be tweaked so that sparticles appear only at energies that are just out of reach of the best existing colliders.”