Home » Cosmology, News, Physics » The God particle: The cavalry arrived but SUSY wasn’t there.

The God particle: The cavalry arrived but SUSY wasn’t there.

In “Theorists feast on Higgs data” (Nature, 18 July 2012) Geoff Brumfiel cautions, “But usurpers of ‘standard model’ have little to chew on”:

However, for those who have spent their careers pursuing a more powerful extension of the standard model called supersymmetry (SUSY), the data offer scant succour. The theory predicts a suite of particles that are ‘super-partners’ to all the known particles, along with several types of Higgs boson. Many theorists regard SUSY as the most promising route to a broader theory of particles and forces, and a possible solution to puzzles such as the nature of cosmic dark matter.

But the LHC has yielded few signs of SUSY. Aside from a handful of tantalizing observations, the Higgs boson seems to match the standard model’s predictions perfectly. Under the weight of the LHC’s hard evidence, SUSY and other beloved theories are feeling the strain. “There’s going to be a huge massacre of theoretical ideas in the next couple of years,” predicts Joe Lykken, a theoretical physicist at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois.

Whoo hoo. Sell those pork bellies before word gets out.

See also: God particle consistent with standard model of physics after all?

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8 Responses to The God particle: The cavalry arrived but SUSY wasn’t there.

  1. Invisible dimensions. Physicists can stake their careers on that; but an invisible God? No way.

  2. Just free-associating on the significance of this anti-SUSY Higgs, it would seem to me that the hubris of particle theorists is about to be tested.

    I think it was GK Chesterton, who said that if a Martian had observed humans for a few centuries and finally had an opportunity to cut one open, he would be astonished to find that bilateral symmetry didn’t hold for the inside too. We make all our observations of nature, and then invent some quasi-religious rule about how “Nature loves symmetry” or something. Then when we go and look, Aaargh, it doesn’t fit. SUSY was a Martian theory, that attempted to define God as a lover of symmetry. And all those neat little metaphysical theories collapse when we encounter a real, personal, intelligent designer.

    A few papers have come out this week on the tubulin proteins that are responsible for destroying bilateral symmetry in organisms. Perhaps in another year or two, we’ll find out why this destruction of bilateral symmetry was so important. There is no doubt in my mind that this anti-SUSY Higgs is going to lead to another “Aha!” moment when particle physicists realize that something cleverer than symmetry is at work here.

    Here’s my prediction. When we discover why SUSY shouldn’t have worked at all, we will also discover that this isn’t a “traditional” Higgs boson, but something completely other.

    Mark my words.

  3. Robert Sheldon, what do you mean when you say this isnt a traditional higgs boson but something completely other?
    What do you think it is?

  4. “Aside from a handful of tantalizing observations, the Higgs boson seems to match the standard model’s predictions perfectly.”

    Aside from not matching the standard model’s predictions perfectly, the Higgs boson seems to match the standard model’s predictions perfectly.

    Why have lawyers when we have the scientific literati to produce ‘empirical’ sophistries for us?

  5. Just free-associating on the significance of this anti-SUSY Higgs, it would seem to me that the hubris of particle theorists is about to be tested.

    The hubris of particle theorists. Right. They predicted by mathematics a suite of particles before they were discovered, including the top and bottom quarks, the Z0 boson, and the Higgs. You could probably add to this the W+ and W- bosons.

    But instead of saying “Congratulations on decades of work guys, isn’t it wonderful that we can use our power of reason to solve problems,” instead we have some chin-pulling armchair philosopher whinging about the hubris of particle physicists.

    Why have lawyers when we have the scientific literati to produce ‘empirical’ sophistries for us?

    How about we discuss the jealousy and “lab coat envy” of armchair philosophers who have never achieved anything in their lives, who have never had to make a testable prediction that could compare against a then-unknown observation?

    How about we discuss the pomposity and egomania of chin-pullers who have nothing to do but pour hatred on scientists? Well, without them, there would be no Uncommon Descent.

    Guess what chin-pullers: They predicted the Higgs. They discovered the Higgs. While ID proponents have never made a single testable prediction that matched observation– not one. Burns, don’t it?

  6. Diogenes, it seems to me that you both have a point. No doubt that congratulations are in order for this discovery. I don’t think they mean to take anything away from the scientists who made this discovery. I just think they are questioning the hubris of some scientists who go as far as supporting SUSY which seems to have little hard evidence to rest on. So I think these guys also have a point. Tha Higgs boson doesn’t do away with the need for a Creator, but it does help explain the nature of God’s world that reveals His existence.

  7. Why give much credit to the work of the foot-soldiers, who just follow their mathematical nose. People capable of flawless logic in fields in which they don’t feel their atheist world-view is threatened, are, frankly, two-a-penny. What distinguishes the true intellectual is his abililty/preparedness to recognise true premises; which is why paradigmatic conceptual leaps comparable with those of the Greats in the first part of the last century have politely declined to manifest.

    The atheist “bitter-enders”, like naughty children, refuse to acknowledge that the very existence of science, particularly over the past century, is due to the likes of Judaeo-Christian thinkers, and most notably, apart from einstein, the Greats of modern science in quantum physics, who, unlike themselves, unequivocally acknowledged that matter was ultimately an imponderable mystery, due to the fact that it is fretted right the way through with ever-proliferating paradoxes and plain imponderable mysteries? In the former case, facts that defy reason and logic. Oh no. They’re just “counter-intuitive”, not “counter-rational”….!!! The fabled “promissory note”.

    As to the latter:
    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.” – Max Planck

    “How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.” – Niels Bohr (an only slightly-less explicit recognition of the ever-more constraining limits on scientific understanding, by the relentless proliferation of paradoxes).

    I look forward with great amusement to the time, which cannot be far off, though I predicted it in the early seventies, when the wall of paradoxes at the sub-atomic level ceases to yield further empirical information.

  8. @tjguy:

    I just think they are questioning the hubris of some scientists who go as far as supporting SUSY which seems to have little hard evidence to rest on.

    I appreciate your qualified words of support. But supporting a theory that has little hard evidence to rest on is not “hubris”, so long as you describe the evidence accurately and *accurately* describe how little or how much evidential support the theory has.

    I do not know any SUSY theoriests. I do know string theorists and the theories are often combined. The string theorists I knew were the smartest people I had ever met, and they were not egotists and had no hubris.

    But scientifically, this is the important point: they did not misrepresent the data in order to claim greater support for their theory. They *honestly* described the level of evidential support, which was not much at that time. They did not sugar coat it.

    They knew they were gambling and they admitted it. They took a gamble because such theories, if true, would resolve mathematical paradoxes such as those between gravity and quantum physics. I considered this a noble endeavor, but too risky for my taste. I’m not that much of a gambler. If other people do, they’ve got the cajones and good for them. I wished them luck but it was not for me.

    They were my friends, they were honest people and if string theory doesn’t work out, well, they still lived courageous lives.

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