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Physics does not need a new particle?

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Not according to theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder on the diphoton bump, at Forbes:

Despite the fact that it would be the nightmare of most of my colleagues, I’m hoping the diphoton bump turns out to be nothing more than noise.

During my professional career, all I have seen is failure. A failure, that is, of particle physicists to uncover a more powerful mathematical framework that improves upon the theories we already have. Yes, failure is part of science – it’s frustrating, but not worrisome. What worries me much more is our failure to learn from those failures. Rather than trying something new, we’ve been trying the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

If the bump goes away, this would catapult us into what has become known as the “nightmare scenario” for the LHC: The Higgs and nothing else. Many particle physicists are afraid of this scenario because, if it comes true, it will leave them without guidance, lost in a thicket of rapidly multiplying models that threaten to block out sunlight. Without some new physics, everyone is concerned we’ll have nothing to work with that we haven’t had already for 50 years. Without any new inputs that can tell us which direction to look towards in the ultimate goal of unification and/or quantum gravity, we’d finally have to admit the truth: we’re completely lost.More.

It’s probably not that bad. See: In search of a road to reality

2 Replies to “Physics does not need a new particle?

  1. 1

    Sabine’s article is the most honest report yet. For the sake of high energy astrophysics, I really hope the diphoton bump goes away. Because we are indeed lost–as lost as phlogisten and the ultraviolet catastrophe of the 19th century. That is to say, empirical models that take on metaphysical existence.
    What worries me more than being lost, however, is the artificial light of experiments such as AMANDA, BICEP2 and now, I am afraid LIGO. Once we keep the farce going, for even the most noble of reasons, there is no return to reality, only a doomed quest for the philosopher’s stone which leaves behind a scorched and smoking field, where poppies bloom.

  2. 2
    ppolish says:

    The bump was probably sour anyway.

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