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Supersymmetry Theory Dealt a Blow

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the state-of-things dept.

Science 143

Dupple writes in with some news from the team at the Large Hadron Collider. "Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider have detected one of the rarest particle decays seen in Nature. The finding deals a significant blow to the theory of physics known as supersymmetry. Many researchers had hoped the LHC would have confirmed this by now. Supersymmetry, or SUSY, has gained popularity as a way to explain some of the inconsistencies in the traditional theory of subatomic physics known as the Standard Model. The new observation, reported at the Hadron Collider Physics conference in Kyoto, is not consistent with many of the most likely models of SUSY. Prof Chris Parke, who is the spokesperson for the UK Participation in the LHCb experiment, told BBC News: 'Supersymmetry may not be dead but these latest results have certainly put it into hospital.'"

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B Rays? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961021)

Does this have to do with the decaying B Ray's they found?

Re:B Rays? (5, Informative)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#41961685)

Yes, specifically Bs Mesons (cue the "BS!" gags...) decaying into a muon pair.

In a fairly hand-wavy way, supersymmetry predicts we should see this quite a lot, but the experiment shows it happens far less frequently, implying the current version of SUSY is either incorrect or completely wrong.

Re:B Rays? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41965053)

either incorrect or completely wrong.

But possibly not both? This quantum shit is weird.

Things keep getting worse and wose (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961063)

First it was the Novell acquisition, then the Microsoft licensing... when will it end?

Re:Things keep getting worse and wose (0)

Vylen (800165) | about 2 years ago | (#41961121)

Microsoft is licensing out the SUSY theory?

Re:Things keep getting worse and wose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961637)

Whooosh...

Re:Things keep getting worse and wose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961919)

Phew, that proton beam almost hit me!

Re:Things keep getting worse and wose (2)

TemporalBeing (803363) | about 2 years ago | (#41962309)

First it was the Novell acquisition, then the Microsoft licensing... when will it end?

Probably with Win8.

And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961215)

Can anyone explain some of the implications of this finding, for all the non-physicists on Slashdot?

Re:And? (4, Funny)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#41961335)

these are not the particles you're looking for

Re:And? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961377)

In a nutshell: the Standard Model of particle physics, developed in the 60s and 70s, has once again been shown to be a remarkably robust and effective description of reality. Thus far, no proposed extension to the SM has been corroborated by any convincing evidence. However, there *are* problems with the SM - it's just the resolution of these problems is at present beyond us.

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | about 2 years ago | (#41962995)

It always baffles me why everybody is so focused on developing completely new and revolutionary physics. The greatest progress has been made in refining the Standard Model, rather than replacing it. And it always amuses me when people exhibit surprise when the Standard Model holds up. There cannot be such complexity in the universe if the fundamentals are constantly in disarray.

Perhaps it's because Einstein was their role model, and nobody in the next hundred years is going to quite make the dent in physics as Einstein did even though everyone is going to try. Nobody remembers that there was 300 years between Newton and Einstein, and that people 300 years ago were just as smart and just as capable as people today, only with fewer opportunities for the unprivileged individual and slower methods of communication between intellectuals.

Unfortunately, wild theories and postulations are not going to get where people want to go. Einstein's revolution was sparked by a moment of insight. It's not something that can be forced out with extra hours pounding square pegs into round holes. It can be prepared for by building a solid foundation. But that amounts to keeping the rain barrels outside and ready to collect in a desert.

Forget the exotic theories (especially the untestable ones). Leave the speculation to the metaphysicists. Stick with the basics. Trying to initiate the next revolution in physics would be as futile as dancing for rain.

Re:And? (4, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41963061)

It always baffles me why everybody is so focused on developing completely new and revolutionary physics.

The fundamental problem with the standard model is gravity. In terms of particle interactions, they have it covered via the Higgs particle and gravitinos. But the standard model doesn't have curvature of space.

Re:And? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41964199)

The fundamental problem with the standard model is gravity. In terms of particle interactions, they have it covered via the Higgs particle and gravitinos.

Don't forget graviolis.

Re:And? (3, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41964333)

In terms of particle interactions, they have it covered via the Higgs particle and gravitinos.

Gravitons. Gravitinos are the supersymmetric partners of gravitons, which might not exist at all.

But the standard model doesn't have curvature of space.

That's not the fundamental problem. If you could consistently describe quantum gravity without space curvature and recover GR in the classical limit, physicists would happily put space curvature where they haver put absolute time: A nice approximation which works well under certain conditions, but breaks down when you get to extremes. No, the real problem with quantum gravity is that the straightforward theories simply don't work.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41965901)

Just curious; since you're so well-versed in these theories, could you take a long, hard look at the Electric Universe [thunderbolts.info] theory/hypothesis, and tell us where the flaw(s) are?

- or maybe it's just so much of a departure from the standard model, that it's too hard to swallow?

Re:And? (1)

hweimer (709734) | about 2 years ago | (#41965247)

The fundamental problem with the standard model is gravity. In terms of particle interactions, they have it covered via the Higgs particle and gravitinos. But the standard model doesn't have curvature of space.

But you can do quantum field theory in curved spacetime, i.e., without quantizing the gravitational field. There is no single experiment ruling out such a model. So I don't think gravity is a problem for the SM, it's rather our desire to find a unified description of all forces in nature. But of course, nobody knows whether such a unified theory will be correct in the end.

Re:And? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41965263)

There is no single experiment ruling out such a model.

There are conceptual problems. Such as where did the space come from in your model? Or is space curved by your quantum effects (such as a non-zero vacuum energy)?

So I don't think gravity is a problem for the SM, it's rather our desire to find a unified description of all forces in nature. But of course, nobody knows whether such a unified theory will be correct in the end.

Any such description would be by definition unified. We have a number of unified descriptions now. They just don't work at the moment.

Re:And? (5, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#41963287)

The greatest progress has been made in refining the Standard Model, rather than replacing it.

Which is why a lot of folks were gunning for SUSY, because that's more or less exactly what is -- an extension, rather than a replacement, for the Standard Model.

In SUSY we keep everything we already know and love about the Standard model, but there is also a symetry where each existing particle has a partner with 1/2 spin difference.

Which as a consequence would apparently solve a number of known issues with the Standard Model -- which is attractive because we know the SM is good, but flawed -- and also provide possible solutions for other mysteries like Dark Matter.

So, basically, rulling out SUSY would be a setback for the (very reasonable and desireable) "refinement" model of advancing physics.

Maybe you're going off the fact that String Theory, a revolutionary new model of physics, also predicts SUSY?

Re:And? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41964415)

So, basically, rulling out SUSY would be a setback for the (very reasonable and desireable) "refinement" model of advancing physics.

Maybe you're going off the fact that String Theory, a revolutionary new model of physics, also predicts SUSY?

I'm not a physicist, and to me, a lot of this seems like wishful thinking : building on a model of a model, without any actual proof that any of it is actually correct.
It seems like a lot of fun, but why does it surprise anyone if it comes crashing down one day ?

Still, it's always more interesting if an experiment doesn't go as expected.
Regardless of what happens, it brings us a little closer to the truth

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41965055)

Maybe you're going off the fact that String Theory, a revolutionary new model of physics, also predicts SUSY?

The problem with string theory is that it predicts everything, even things that are incorrect.

Re:And? (4, Interesting)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 2 years ago | (#41965131)

Because the greatest offshoot of SUSY is string theory. String theory relies on SUSY being true, and academic institutions are stuffed with string theorists making ever more grandiose claims about what string theory predicts (think Sheldon Cooper times a billion) without a single prediction of an experimental result that unambiguously proves string theory is correct.

I expect a petition by string theorists to turn off the Large Hadron Collider any day now.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41965341)

I expect a petition by string theorists to turn off the Large Hadron Collider any day now.

Bravo!

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41966051)

academic institutions are stuffed with string theorists making ever more grandiose claims about what string theory predicts (think Sheldon Cooper times a billion)

Now that is one grandiose claim!

Re:And? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41963589)

This might be a legitimate argument if it were not for the fact that the Standard Model has its own particular issues, and all these attempts to extend it, no matter how much you (whoever the fuck you are) may not approve are ways to try to solve those problems.

Rain Dancng? You mean like this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41963775)

Choosing to miss your point completely, what if, for photons the spatial array is 1/2-spin particles, at least within their own system, for they don't exist in between fermions, in their own system .. then we might correspondingly expect that for fermions the spatial particle would be far more energetic yet again, but extremely short lived. Looking, then. At what happens as a neutron falls down a black hole, we see that one quark [say, a red] is closer to the event horizon than the others, and so is accelerated away from the others until the energy of separation causes pair production. Those pairs also string out similarly, so quark/antiquark strings are produced. The momentum in the direction of motion is huge, so the cross section in that dimension is tiny;but the momentum in the transverse directions decreases to zero, causing the waveform to expand out in that direction. Therefore the next stable structure that is formed will be that of extremely high energy, short-lived particles. By conservation of energy, they cannot gain energy forevere. By Heisenberg uncertainty, they will grow in transverse gross-section until they tunnel out of the black hole. At that point, they will interact with other relativistic quark/antiquark strings that are travelling in nonparallel directions, as well as with nonrelativistic fermions. This will then work to form a warped but generally thre-dimensiunal structure of short-lived, super-energetic particles that then function as a spatial matrix for the communication of electric, colored, weak andother forces. The gravity, then, is just a byproduct of tke spatial warping.

Re:And? (1)

Niobe (941496) | about 2 years ago | (#41964431)

> Nobody remembers that there was 300 years between Newton and Einstein, and that people 300 years ago were just as smart and just as capable as people today, And less distracted by slashdot, facebook, twitter and other interweb stuff that detracts from serious thought

Re:And? (1)

MickLinux (579158) | about 2 years ago | (#41965411)

Why do techies completely miss that point, then, when the difference is 2000 years, and the subject is things for which they would have more experience than us?

Re:And? (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about 2 years ago | (#41965849)

Why do techies completely miss that point, then, when the difference is 2000 years, and the subject is things for which they would have more experience than us?

This techie (engineer) doesn't. I must admit having a Mom who's an anthropologist, having spent time in the field, and listened to whole buildings full of archeologists as well, might have colored my outlook. Just a smidgen.

I can't speak for anyone else, but my ancestors weren't stupid. And we still can only guess at how they went about doing the "impossible" to this day. At least if civilization ends soon, I'll be one of the few that can make my own damn tools! [It probably would have helped if a certain library hadn't of burned.]

As to the problem at hand, it'll take someone coming along, looking at all the weird, bat-shit problems and having a different take on how to "look" (imagine) the problem description. Been there, done that in other problem domains. And, yes, I was thought bat-shit crazy at the time.

Actually, I still am ....

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41965825)

Sorry to disagree with you but during the 300 years that you said, Newton's mechanics wasn't the only theory that existed and I'm pretty sure that there were a lot of crazy theories. How these crazy were rules out? Experimental data had been and will always be the way how we decided which theories are acceptable. And as a physicist I can tell you that we will always invent new ways to explain phenomena that hasn't been explain, using modifications of the actual models or by creating a whole new theory, and it's not us that decide which is the true theory but data.

Re:And? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41963019)

So maybe dark matter consists of Standard Model particles after all.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41963179)

No, that's almost certainly one of the things the standard model doesn't cover.

In this instance perhaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41963023)

But i don't think it calls for a general breast beating about the standard model in general. We've certainly had to re-evaluate a lot since the 70s.

Re:And? (2)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41963125)

Another thing that is missing from the Standard model is an understanding of how the basic forces interact with each other. For example, if the strong and weak forces interact in some way, then there would be a decay pathway [wikipedia.org] for the proton. The standard model doesn't rule this out.

Re:And? (5, Funny)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#41961505)

Can anyone explain some of the implications of this finding, for all the non-physicists on Slashdot?

It's going to be a hell of a lot harder to reroute tachyon particles through the main deflector dish.

Re: And? (1)

MickLinux (579158) | about 2 years ago | (#41963821)

I can do it captain, but I need more time!

Re: And? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 2 years ago | (#41964053)

You cannot change the laws of physics!

Re:And? (1)

Whiteox (919863) | about 2 years ago | (#41964927)

Eh? Just use a Beryllium Sphere

Re:And? (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 2 years ago | (#41965137)

Well played.

Re:And? (2)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#41962519)

The LHC data are beginning to impinge on the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model [wikipedia.org] . One of the attractions of the MSSM is its "naturalness," which is beginning to seem less natural [arxiv.org] . The the lightest superparticle (LSP) of the MSSM is a dark matter candidate of the WIMP (Weakly interacting massive particle) variety, and WIMP searches are beginning to impinge on the "naturalness" of that explanation too.

Of course, after the confirmation of a non-zero cosmological constant, the arguments from naturalness seem less compelling to me...

Re:And? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41963039)

Can you explain what an "argument from naturalness" means?

Re:And? (1)

Pro-feet (2668975) | about 2 years ago | (#41963617)

The standard model as a theory on its own needs extreme fine tuning to be valid all the way up to the scale where gravity becomes strong. Technically, there is a quadratic dependence on the upper scale of the theory when one calculates the quantum corrections to the Higgs mass. This leaves the theory very unnatural (even though mathematically not impossible).
Supersymmetry solves this naturalness problem by canceling the quadratic divergences. It cannot cancel exactly though (or we'd have observed supersummetry since long), so therefore a new unnaturalness problem arises when supersymmetry lives at an energy scale far above the scale of electroweak symmetry breaking (~the Higgs boson mass scale).

Re:And? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41963769)

The standard model as a theory on its own needs extreme fine tuning to be valid all the way up to the scale where gravity becomes strong. Technically, there is a quadratic dependence on the upper scale of the theory when one calculates the quantum corrections to the Higgs mass. This leaves the theory very unnatural (even though mathematically not impossible). Supersymmetry solves this naturalness problem by canceling the quadratic divergences. It cannot cancel exactly though (or we'd have observed supersummetry since long), so therefore a new unnaturalness problem arises when supersymmetry lives at an energy scale far above the scale of electroweak symmetry breaking (~the Higgs boson mass scale).

And that wouldn't be the case no matter what sort of universe was observed?

Re:And? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 2 years ago | (#41964123)

Would any hypothesis which must be tested from another universe (or all other sorts of universes) is be testable?

Re:And? (5, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#41964395)

It can be thought of as an attempt to do probabilistic type arguments, when you don't have any data to do probability with.

Suppose that astronauts find a long abandoned alien base on the Moon. All equipment was carefully removed, but we know that the doors and corridors are all 4 meters wide and 3 meters high. It would be "natural" to assume that the aliens (or their machinery) were typically less, but not much less, than 3 meters tall. That could be wrong - maybe they are 1 meter birds who like room to fly in. Or maybe they are 4 meter giants who don't mind stooping. But, in the absence of any other evidence, it is a "natural" assumption. Such assumptions are very common in places like cosmology and quantum gravity.

One argument from naturalness is that dimensionless constants should "naturally" be near one, without a good reason to have some specific value. (The other "natural" is of course zero.).

Take the axion and CP violation. You can add a term to the QCD Lagrangian which violates Charge+Parity (or CP), which means that this term allows for particles and their antiparticles to behave differently. This term is multiplied by a constant denoted by theta, with theta = 0 meaning no CP violation. It turns out you can restrict theta to be 10^-10 experimentally. So, presumably, theta IS zero (as zero is a much more "natural" number than the really tiny 10^-10). The axion came from assuming that theta really described a new field (with a new particle, the axion), and was driven towards zero in the evolution of the universe. It seemed much more "natural" to say that "after about the first microsecond of the big bang theta is driven to be zero" than just saying "this constant is really tiny."

The reason I said that about the cosmological constant (lambda) is that it is about 0.7 and (in the same units) the standard model value for it is about 10^122. (Or,
in natural units, its current value is about 10^-122.) That is an extraordinary result. Many people were sure that lambda was exactly zero (as that could also be "natural,") but it isn't. Note that the value for the axion's theta is by contrast almost routine. If theta is like winning the lottery, lambda is like having every atom in the universe winning the lottery simultaneously for every nanosecond that the universe has existed. So, I regard these arguments as less persuasive than I did 20 years ago,
 

Re:And? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41964313)

It means string theorists are in trouble, because modern string theory assumes supersymmetry.

Bad summary (5, Informative)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 2 years ago | (#41961219)

The summary, like the article, jumps straight into "OMG CONFLICT" without bothering to tell us what's going on. From later in the article:

Researchers at the LHCb detector have dealt a serious blow to [supersymmetry]. They have measured the decay between a particle known as a Bs Meson into two particles known as muons. It is the first time that this decay has been observed and the team has calculated that for every billion times that the Bs Meson decays it only decays in this way three times. If superparticles were to exist the decay would happen far more often. This test is one of the "golden" tests for supersymmetry and it is one that on the face of it this hugely popular theory among physicists has failed. ...

The results are in fact completely in line with what one would expect from the Standard Model. There is already concern that the LHCb's sister detectors might have expected to have detected superparticles by now, yet none have been found so far.

But it sounds like this is only a problem for some variants of supersymmetry:

"If new physics exists, then it is hiding very well behind the Standard Model," commented Cambridge physicist Dr Marc-Olivier Bettler, a member of the analysis team. The result does not rule out the possibility that super particles exist. But according to Prof Parkes, "they are running out of places to hide". Supporters of supersymmetry, however, such as Prof John Ellis of King's College London said that the observation is "quite consistent with supersymmetry". "In fact," he said "(it) was actually expected in (some) supersymmetric models. I certainly won't lose any sleep over the result."

Re:Bad summary (2)

Carewolf (581105) | about 2 years ago | (#41961627)

But it sounds like this is only a problem for some variants of supersymmetry:

Yes and no. You can always change the theory to adapt, but if you continue to do that, at some point it stops being science, see http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/popper_falsification.html [stephenjaygould.org] . SoSY has been counterproven by several different experiments now, they are slowly but steadily running out of all the nice versions, and they have never had any positive confirmation. All it relied on was that it could be nice model if it was true.

Re:Bad summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961835)

>You can always change the theory to adapt, but if you continue to do that, at some point it stops being science

Is there a limit to how many times can you tweak unknown climate feedback parameters in computer models?

Re:Bad summary (3, Informative)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 2 years ago | (#41961969)

SUSY is not a theory which is altered every time a new relevant discovery is made. It's a (quite large) family of theories, some of which are ruled out every time a new relevant discovery is made.

Re:Bad summary (0)

Carewolf (581105) | about 2 years ago | (#41965087)

That is part of the problem, if a theory is so general it can not be falsified it is not science. Which is why SUSY physicists have made a set of parameters and experiments to be able to test it. It is those experiments that have been failing. It doesn't strictly disprove it, but it makes it less interesting science..

Re:Bad summary (3, Interesting)

fatphil (181876) | about 2 years ago | (#41965393)

> if a theory is so general it can not be falsified it is not science.

Yes, but "supersymmetry" isn't "a theory", it's not the science. It's a label that is applied to the whole family of putative theories that are trying to be science, and which share a common core feature. It's not "general", it's "several". I hate to stand up for supersymmetry, as none of its expressions show the elegance that I like in science (et gustibus non disputandem est), but thinking of it as one single target that can be shot down is in error.

Not long before Newton some other guy (Galileo?) proposed the acceleration of objects falling under gravity such that the speed was proportional to the disance already moved. Newton as we know modelled it differently. The other guy's theory fell down when it was realised that an object would never start to fall. So they shot it down, and Newton's took over. That didn't mean that "gravitational acceleration" was so general it couldn't be disproved and wasn't a science.

> it makes it less interesting science

In some ways, definitely - yours seems to overlap somewhat with my 'elegance' point of view. If there is enough room to be making many many different models, then it looks like there's more guesswork involved than insight. Anyone can roll their own supersymmetric theory - download the new SuSy model GUI-based wizard trial version, and generate your own model in only 10 clicks! First 20 models free!

Re:Bad summary (5, Informative)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 2 years ago | (#41962143)

But it sounds like this is only a problem for some variants of supersymmetry:

Yes and no.

Actually just 'yes'. SUSY is essentially a mirror image of the Standard Model about which we know very little indeed (only limitations on it). Hence the best models assume nothing which is not expressly forbidden and so we end up with ~120 free parameters vs the 25 free parameters for the Standard Model which we have measured and so excluded many of the possibilities. For example the we set the mass of a photon and a gluon to zero in the Standard Model because we have no evidence that they have a mass and the Lagrangian requires zero mass for it to have the correct symmetries. However in fact all we can do is put an upper limit on the mass from experiment: this is a better example of the illustration you are trying to make.

The Standard Model already heavily suppresses Bs->mumu decay all this has shown is that SUSY, if it exists, likewise heavily suppresses it. This is a very interesting result but, far from falsifying SUSY, it just means that SUSY is perhaps more like the Standard Model than we think it needs to be. Since we have no clue about how Supersymmetry is broken this is not too surprising...so I'd say it's very interesting and certainly constrains SUSY but it is by no means its death knell. Indeed arguments about excluding phase space and so therefore making a theory less probably are somewhat akin to arguing that choosing the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 in a lottery is stupid because they will never come up. If SUSY is there nature has chosen one set of parameters for it and, if that happens to be the last place we look it is the last place we'll find it. However if we find no hints of SUSY particles at the LHC once we run with a higher energy (March 2015) then it will start to be in trouble because at that point it becomes a less likely solution to the problem it was actually invented to explain: why is the Higgs mass so much less than the energy scale of gravity?

Re:Bad summary (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41964897)

One of the unsatisfying properties of the standard model is its large number of free parameters. A replacement which has approximately five times as many doesn't seem too desirable to me. Generally, the less free parameters you have, the better. You know, with enough free parameters, you can fit an elephant.

Re:Bad summary (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#41964963)

You can always change the theory to adapt, but if you continue to do that, at some point it stops being science

Funny, I can't think of a better definition of science. You're applying (literal) psychobabble to physics - now that's Bad Science.

Re:Bad summary (2)

oldhack (1037484) | about 2 years ago | (#41962417)

Comments like yours make browsing slashdot worth a damn. Unfortunately, most of yous have gone off, and I'm not one of yous.

Re:Bad summary (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41963063)

But it sounds like this is only a problem for some variants of supersymmetry:

That's a good result in itself. All the theories that can't explain what we see in LHC and be junked.

Re:Bad summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41965833)

Sounds like it is a problem for whatever detectors they have for that decay. Maybe they need to boost the sensitivity by x30 or x60 to get a proper measure.

do not confuse this (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961297)

Not to be confused with PUSY, which is still a mystery to most people here...

Re:do not confuse this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961679)

What are you, 12? That stereotype is both offensive and outdated.

Re:do not confuse this (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41961803)

Well, sure, if you count the prostitutes...

Re:do not confuse this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41962931)

They cost money which is better applied to Black Ops 2!

Wait, what?

Re:do not confuse this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961871)

You must be new around here.

Welcome to Slashdot!

Re:do not confuse this (3, Informative)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about 2 years ago | (#41961899)

Indeed that was a problem from the past where the existence of the PUSY was the main question, the today stereotype is, after confirming the PUSY, the problem now in that there is a sole PUSY.

Re:do not confuse this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41962769)

Only someone who really needs to get laid would be offended by the stereotype.

As someone clearly older than you (What are you, 13?), I am offended that you think the stereotype is "outdated". This implies that you believe it used to be true, but now isn't.

The reality is it is a stereotype. Stereotypes are generalizations. They have some vague truth at some level, making them convenient, mostly for poking fun; but fail completely at the level of the individual.

Re:do not confuse this (1)

christurkel (520220) | about 2 years ago | (#41963283)

You way over thinking this. And yes the whole "nerds don't know about pussy" is kind of old.

Re:do not confuse this (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | about 2 years ago | (#41965647)

I googled PUSY thinking it was an acronym like NIMBY or something, then realised I was a walking stereotype.

Black Knight (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961313)

From TFA:

Supporters of supersymmetry, however, such as Prof John Ellis of King's College London said that the observation is "quite consistent with supersymmetry".

"In fact," he said "(it) was actually expected in (some) supersymmetric models. I certainly won't lose any sleep over the result."

It's just a flesh wound!

Great! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41961337)

Between this and the (possible) discovery of the Higgs Boson, we may be about to launch into a new era of particle physics theory and research.

Lets get started... (4, Informative)

hAckz0r (989977) | about 2 years ago | (#41961691)

The next big step is for them to 'prove' that what they found has more than just the mass they were expecting for the Higgs Boson. Just because something has the proper mass +/- some orders of magnitude, that was in a *very* wide ball park of their proposed Higgs, doesn't mean that it does what the Higgs is supposed to do. How they are going to actually prove that it gives all the other particles their mass, given they only know of its existence due to its decay mode (as in its already gone), is going to be one rather tough problem. We better get started...

Re:Lets get started... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961793)

>it gives all the other particles their mass

I thought the majority of the mass of material objects comes from the nuclear binding energy between and within protons and neutrons.

Is the Higgs mechanism just a minor correction to bare masses of quarks, electrons, and neutrinos?

Re:Lets get started... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41962275)

Perhaps giving the point particles (quarks and leptons) their masses?

Re:Lets get started... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41962289)

The binding energy is negative and lowers the mass of nuclei. The mass of a nucleus is the sum of the masses of the protons and neutrons making it up, minus the equivalent mass of the binding energy.

Is the Higgs mechanism just a minor correction to bare masses of quarks, electrons, and neutrinos?

So, no.

Re:Lets get started... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41962717)

The binding energy is negative and lowers the mass of nuclei.

Yes ... and no.

Yes, the binding energy of protons and neutrons to each other lowers the mass of a nucleus, such that a carbon-12 atom has less mass than 6 separate protons and 6 separate neutrons, but there is also the binding energy of the three quarks within each proton and each neutron. That is a honking big positive number, such that most of the mass (somewhere close to 99% [wikipedia.org] ) is actually from the interaction (virtual gluons and such) between the quarks, rather than the rest mass of the quarks themselves. Since 99.9% of the mass of an atom comes from the protons and neutrons, about 99% of the mass of any object you interact with daily comes not from fundamental particles, but rather the energy of interaction between quarks.

So when the GP says "between and within protons and neutrons", he's correct, although dropping the "between" would make him slightly more accurate. I don't know enough about QCD to make any assessment of whether the Higgs field contributes significantly to the magnitude of that binding energy. (That is, if we had a zero-valued (or near-zero valued) Higgs field, would the magnitude of the quark binding energy (and thus the mass of everyday objects) be significantly different. )

Re:Lets get started... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41964555)

I don't know enough about QCD to say for sure, but given that the atomic binding energies are proportional to the electron mass, I'd be far from surprised if also the binding energy of nucleons depended critically on the quark masses, probably even to the point of proportionality (assuming you scale all masses the same).

Re:Lets get started... (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about 2 years ago | (#41965267)

They know a bit more than the mass. They know that its spin is either 0 or 2, and they know the relative probabilities of some of the decay paths. Last I heard (this summer, right after the announcement), the proportions of the decay paths were a bit off, but more observations might put it back on track.

Re:Great! (3, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#41962407)

Well, assuming that something is found that is not consistent with the standard model. There is actually something from the LHC that is not consistent with the standard model, the LHCb discovery of CP violation in charm decays [blogspot.com] . This is "only" 3.5 sigma, and needs some serious theoretical work to be sure the SM prediction is even right, but as things stand it is evidence for new physics [arxiv.org] .

Not Great! (2)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#41963027)

Between this and the (possible) discovery of the Higgs Boson, we may be about to launch into a new era of particle physics theory and research.

Actually, I think it's the reverse. Between this and the (possible) discovery of the Higgs Boson, we have simply just confirmed the parts of the standard model that we think we already understand. No new physics.

What people are actually looking for (and have found some hints/clues about like unexpected non-uniform decay paths in other experiments) are things that might suggests new physics that we don't understand at all which would launch a new era of particle physics theory and research. Some physists posit that some new physics exists (like SUSY) that might help us understand these hints/clues better, but so far the evidence has been lacking in support of a specific direction for new physics outside the standard model.

For example, the standard model doesn't seem to have a much of a say on the hierarchy problems (e.g., how come the higgs is so light), the observed electroweak symmetry breaking (e.g, why the higgs field yields mass), or give us much of a clue about dark matter (e.g., are there super heavy, neutral particles). As I understand it, as a straw man, SUSY might have something to help explain some of these deficiencies of the Standard Model, if there was evidence to support it.

If we keep running experiments and just find predictions that are supported/predicted by the Standard Model, we've only eliminated potential new physics, we need to find something that we can't predict to launch a new era of particle physic theory and research.

Checkmate atheists (5, Funny)

Swampash (1131503) | about 2 years ago | (#41961945)

See? Your science doesn't have all the answers.

Re:Checkmate atheists (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about 2 years ago | (#41962131)

Yet.

Re:Checkmate atheists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41962481)

what is religion's prediction of the decay rate?

Re:Checkmate atheists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41962599)

Whatever God decides.

Re:Checkmate atheists (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#41964775)

But the model is simpler if you leave such decisions to cats.

Re:Checkmate atheists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41962575)

And religion doesn't have any of the answers

Re:Checkmate atheists (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 2 years ago | (#41963059)

Theist: Check and mate.
Physicist: Yes, please!

(With apologies to Austin Powers)

Re:Checkmate atheists (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41964903)

Yeah, and please write a big number on the check you're going to give me.

Re:Checkmate atheists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41963387)

Sure it does, it's 42. What my science doesn't have is all the questions.

BBT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41962659)

What will Sheldon (or is it Lennard) do for a job now?

Before committing yourself ... (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41962877)

... wiggle all the connectors and try one more time.

Re:Before committing yourself ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41963121)

it used to help me overcome unexpected results that appeared on my 110# 19" CRT. not enough particles? whack!
hubble pictures a little fuzzy? whack!
yankees lost the pennant? whack!
don't try that today, flat panels can fly.

the paper (5, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | about 2 years ago | (#41962977)

Here is the paper: https://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1493302/files/PAPER-2012-043.pdf [cdsweb.cern.ch]

Some blogs discussing the significance of the result:

http://www.science20.com/quantum_diaries_survivor/lhcb_evidence_rare_decay_bs_dimuons-96311 [science20.com]

http://motls.blogspot.com/2012/11/superstringy-compactifications.html#more [blogspot.com]

http://profmattstrassler.com/ [profmattstrassler.com]

Particle physics isn't my field, but neither the paper nor the blog posts seem to be interpreting it, as the BBC does, as evidence against supersymmetry.

Re:the paper (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41963799)

Here is the paper: https://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1493302/files/PAPER-2012-043.pdf [cdsweb.cern.ch]

Some blogs discussing the significance of the result:

http://www.science20.com/quantum_diaries_survivor/lhcb_evidence_rare_decay_bs_dimuons-96311 [science20.com]

http://motls.blogspot.com/2012/11/superstringy-compactifications.html#more [blogspot.com]

http://profmattstrassler.com/ [profmattstrassler.com]

Particle physics isn't my field, but neither the paper nor the blog posts seem to be interpreting it, as the BBC does, as evidence against supersymmetry.

Wow! The list of co-authors is almost as long as the article!

Re:the paper (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41965009)

Wow! The list of co-authors is almost as long as the article!

That's how you identify high energy physics papers.

Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41963429)

Good because I hated that fucking theory. Stupid piece of shit it was.

Re:Good. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#41964781)

yeah, not enough vowels.

Supersymmetry is not the same thing as dark matter (2)

Brucelet (1857158) | about 2 years ago | (#41963841)

The summary isn't detailed enough to bring this up, but TFA tries to equate supersymmetry with dark matter, which is emphatically wrong. The existence of dark matter is strongly supported by astronomical evidence including galaxy rotation velocities and observations of gravitational lensing, regardless of the nature of the particles that make it up. Even if this result provides evidence against supersymmetry (which doesn't seem to be the conclusion of other articles I've read, although I'm not really qualified to say), it tells us absolutely nothing about dark matter.

Re:Supersymmetry is not the same thing as dark mat (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41964911)

Even if this result provides evidence against supersymmetry (which doesn't seem to be the conclusion of other articles I've read, although I'm not really qualified to say), it tells us absolutely nothing about dark matter.

Wrong. If it is evidence against supersymmetry, it tells us that dark matter is likely not composed of supersymmetric particles. Given that supersymmetric particles are one of the main hypotheses about what dark matter is composed of, I'd say it tells us very much about dark matter.

What you probably wanted to say is that evidence against supersymmetry is not evidence against dark matter.

Let me see if I got this straight: (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#41964761)

So, one breast is bigger than the other?

Well, it's official... (0)

matunos (1587263) | about 2 years ago | (#41965077)

Science was wrong, therefore the Bible is proven completely inerrant.

Rare particle seen in Nature? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41965639)

I thought Nature wasn't that rare, it has plenty of subscribers. On what page was the particle?

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