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When particle physicists collide, some are transformed into children

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There was a big meet in Granada to discuss the future of particle physics (which really means a meeting to discuss whether to build a Collider-saurus that would dwarf the Large Hadron Collider. An experimental particle physicist is peeved that some physicists doubt the value. He names no names, but can you guess who he has in mind here?:

However, this is the age of instant knowledge: a half hour internship will allow any internet surfer to feel they have become experts on any topic, and they will form an opinion on how science should and should not progress.

What’s worse, there are always disgruntled scientists around, who will take every chance they can at getting even with a system they dropped out of, maybe in pursuit of a better personal fulfilment. They know the stuff, or so they think, and they will try to inflict damage to their former field of study, getting their revenge! Internet gives them megaphons to reach out and collect a following among the instant-knowledge crowd. Tommaso Dorrigo, “The Future Of Particle Physics Discussed In Granada” at Science2.0

My, my. A commenter formed the correct impression and suggests, “Could you please answer the very valid questions raised by Sabine instead of smearing her like this?”

Yes, of course. Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, has offered some shrewd analysis of the collider problem that theoretical physics now faces: “But it is no longer just an opinion: The LHC predictions based on naturalness arguments did, as a matter of fact, not work. So you might think that particle physicists would finally stop using them.”

In any event, the meeting wrapped up without a definite direction. There were “frank and open discussions” and “ “participants did not stay away from hard questions”:

Among the many “interesting questions” that she said Europe needed to address were the Higgs boson, dark matter and the “flavour problem”. “The Higgs is still mysterious [and] understanding the behaviour of the Higgs boson is a must.” Hamish Johnston, “European physicists look to the future of particle colliders” at Physics World

And the bleat goes on.

See also: Sabine Hossenfelder; Has the Large Hadron Collider “Broken Physics?”

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2 Replies to “When particle physicists collide, some are transformed into children

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note:

    Step aside CERN: There’s a cheaper way to break open physics – 10 JANUARY 2018
    How tabletop experiments could find evidence of new particles, offering a glimpse beyond the standard model.
    Excerpt: The standard model predicts a tiny squashing (for the electron) — so small, Gabrielse says, that “there’s essentially no hope to measure it in my lifetime”. But some theories posit as-yet-undetected particles that could make the electron’s EDM roughly one billion times larger. Many of those theories fall into a class called supersymmetry, an extension of the standard model that could explain why the Higgs boson’s mass is smaller than expected, and that could unify the electromagnetic, weak and strong forces in the early Universe. It might also reveal the nature of dark matter.
    In early 2014, the researchers reported4 that they had not seen evidence for an EDM in their set-up, which was sensitive to an angular difference of about 100-millionths of a degree. That drove the upper limit of the electron EDM down by more than a factor of 10, to 8.7?×?10^?29 in units of centimetres multiplied by electron charge. If an electron were the size of Earth — and Earth a perfect sphere — the limit would correspond to moving a patch of material roughly 20 nanometres thick from one pole to the other.
    The ACME team argued that the result has big implications for theories beyond the standard model, nixing many hypothetical supersymmetric particles that would exist in an energy range probed by the LHC. But some theorists counter that plenty of remaining theories — supersymmetric and otherwise — predict an electron EDM smaller than those ruled out by the ACME team. Gabrielse finds the surviving theories more and more contrived. “Theorists are wily,” he says. “Every time we exclude something, they try to wiggle out.”,,,
    Now, researchers are closing in on new EDM results. The ACME physicists have increased the number of molecules they can send into their experimental apparatus by a factor of 400. They expect this and other improvements to sharpen the experiment’s precision by a factor of ten — allowing them to hunt for effects beyond the energy range of the LHC. The JILA team is also gearing up for experiments set to push beyond the LHC’s reach. And researchers at Imperial College London who held a former electron-EDM measurement record6 have plans for experiments with laser-cooled ytterbium monofluoride molecules; they hope their test will be 1,000 times more precise than ACME’s first run.

  2. 2
    vmahuna says:

    For most of the tax-paying world, I don’t think the argument is about obscure bits of theory, the physics of which practically no one understands. But I’m all any new research project where the researchers dig into their own wallets (and maybe mortgage the house and sell a car or 2…) to come up with the cash they wanna spend. As a start, a bunch of ’em could announce that they would FOREGO ALL SALARIES whilst involved in the project, and of course “donate” (i.e., pay BACK) any cash prizes and such they might win when 10 years of brilliant research once again suggests we really do need that even newer bigger-er collider whose diameter roughly aligns with the orbit of Jupiter.

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