From the latest Science News:
String theory weighs in on Higgs
ATLANTA – Physicists working on big experiments at particle colliders aren’t the only ones who have something to say about the mass of the elusive Higgs boson. A theorist has now thrown his hat into the ring. Theoretical physicist Gordon Kane of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor reported April 1 that he and colleagues have calculated the mass of the Higgs from the principles of string theory, with no additional inputs. In the standard model of particle physics, the Higgs boson is required for other particles to have mass. Kane’s team, which also reported the calculation online last December at arXiv.org, put the mass at between 105 billion and 129 billion electron volts. The proposed mass is consistent with hints of a Higgs at around 125 billion electron volts, reported later that same month by both the Atlas and CMS teams at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva. “This is the first string theory prediction for the mass of the Higgs — ever,” Kane said.
For some background on this, see here.
Update: It seems that this joke is far more elaborate than I had realized. The APS this year awarded Kane the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize, and then scheduled him to deliver the Prize speech on April Fools day. His speech abstract is:
The Higgs Boson, String Theory, and the Real World
In this talk I’ll describe how string theory is exciting because it can address most, perhaps all, of the questions we hope to understand about our world: why quarks and leptons make up our world, what forces form our world, cosmology, parity violation, and much more. I’ll explain why string theory is testable in basically the same ways as the rest of physics, and why much of what is written about that is misleading. String theory is already or soon being tested in several ways, including correctly predicting the recently observed Higgs boson properties and mass, and predictions for dark matter, LHC physics, cosmological history, and more, from work in the increasingly active subfield “string phenomenology.”
His presentation advertises in large red letters:
First String/M-theory tested prediction for new physics — predicted 125 Gev (August)
and claims that you shouldn’t believe arguments that string theory is untestable, even when they come from string theorists:
If your impression of string theory came from some popular books and articles and blogs (or from formal string theorists) you might be suspicious of taking string theory explanations seriously.
He has many slides explaining the supposed “125 GeV Higgs Mass Prediction”, but I can’t see an argument that gives 125 GeV, and it’s a prediction that suspiciously comes without error bars. The closest thing to a bottom line seems to be page 30, where the “Blue dots are favored prediction”, and these blue dots span a Higgs mass range of about 121-128 GeV, so maybe he means 125 +/- 4 or something like that. There are also a lot of red dots from 105 GeV to 121 GeV, which the theory “disfavors”, “but doesn’t yet rule out”.
The other LHC predictions he makes are that the squarks are up around 30 TeV, so unobservable at the LHC, and that the gluino is light enough to be seen at the LHC. His “generic LHC predictions” plot has a gluino around 600 GeV, at a value that has already been ruled out by LHC results. Back in December, he was predicting “a few months” until he was vindicated by observation of a light gluino. If 4 is a “few”, his time is up.