The LHC long shutdown (LS1) seems to be progressing on schedule, with physics collisions at 13 TeV planned for early April 2015. I’d guess the earliest 13 TeV results might appear at the summer 2015 conferences. The long term plan is to accumulate up to about 50 fb-1 of data per year for about 3 years of data-taking, ending in mid-2018. There will then be a year and a half shutdown (LS2), followed by data-taking at 14 TeV from 2020-2022. The plan is to end up with about 300 fb-1 before a long shutdown (LS3) starting in 2023.

Hopefully there will be much learned about the Higgs, and some unexpected discoveries. One of the main targets will continue to be SUSY searches, despite the negative results found so far at 8 TeV (and 25 fb-1). Something to watch will be how long it takes theorists heavily-invested in TeV-scale SUSY to give up and concede that this idea doesn’t work. For this, one thing to keep in mind is what precise bets theorists have made in the past.

There’s a new one this week. After Gordon Kane complained that he couldn’t find anyone willing to bet against SUSY, Marcelo Gleiser decided to take him up on it, with stakes a bottle of 15 year old Macallan (which goes for about $100). Marcelo seems to think he has a bet that will get him his Macallan if no SUSY is found in the run ending in 2018, but I fear he has been had. Kane specifies:

To have a meaningful bet the LHC has to work at an appropriate energy and luminosity. It is expected to take integrated luminosity of order 300 fb-1 at a total energy near 13 TeV in the next run, in less than two years after turning on in early 2015. Assuming those results, signals for gluinos and/or light neutralinos and/or charginos are expected, and that’s the appropriate bet.

The only problem with this is that the current LHC schedule foresees maybe 100 fb-1 two years after first physics in 2015, not 300 fb-1. For 300 fb-1 the schedule says the wait is likely to be until 2023, so Marcelo is going to have a very long wait for his fine Scotch.

Here’s the status of the other SUSY bets I know about, and I’d be curious to hear about any other known ones:

  • Back in 2000 some theorists at a conference in Copenhagen bet (stakes $50 cognac) about SUSY being found at the LHC by mid-2010. The losers welshed reneged on that bet, to be fair partly because the LHC was delayed, and didn’t really get going until 2010, at half design energy. A new version of the bet was made in 2011, with stakes raised to $100 cognac and a cutoff date in June 2016.
  • David Gross here announced back in 2012 that he had taken bets on SUSY, paying off once 50 fb-1 of data have been analyzed. This would likely at the earliest be in mid-2016, same time frame as the Copenhagen bet.
  • Garrett Lisi announced on Twitter back in 2009 that:

    Frank Wilczek just bet me $1000 that superparticles will be detected by July 8, 2015. Max Tegmark will arbitrate.

    At this point it seems that Wilczek is likely out $1000, since this date will only be 3 months into the run with results available for only a small amount of data if any.

  • Wilczek also has a 2013 bet with Tord Ekelof that gauginos will be found by end 2019. This one is just for some chocolate coins.
  • Jacques Distler made a $750 bet with Tommaso Dorigo based on the first 10 fb-1 of LHC data. This was more general, Jacques would win if either SUSY was found, or something else unexpected. Jacques paid up last year, see here.
  • Many theorists were highly skeptical of SUSY long before the LHC turned on. Back in 2008 Adam Falkowski assigned a probability of .1% to a SUSY discovery at the LHC, and gave Lubos Motl 100 to 1 odds for a bet about SUSY after 30 fb-1 of LHC data. Lubos still has his $100 since the LHC didn’t quite get to 30 fb-1, but he should be out the money probably sometime mid-next year.

If there are any others of these out there, let me know…

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17 Responses to SUSY Bets

  1. Jan de Goor says:


    it is worth mentioning that Gordon Kane has his susy predictions in a preprint ( ). Kane has not yet answered on the following bet proposal by a good friend of mine:

    GK statement: Some superpartner will be found at the LHC.

    My friend’s statement: No deviation from the standard model of particle physics or from general relativity will be found; no new elementary particle (including additional quarks, additional gauge bosons, additional Higgs particles, axions, WIMPs or superpartners) will be found; no new interaction (such as technicolor), no new fundamental parameters and no new symmetry (such as GUTs or supersymmetry) of nature will be discovered; no additional dimensions of space will be detected; no evidence against dark matter as a mixture of ordinary matter and black holes will appear; no experiment will measure values exceeding the Planck force, the Planck momentum, the Planck power or any other Planck limit; no evidence against a decrease of the cosmological constant with time will be found.

    Timing for decision: End of 2017 – or some other date of Kane’s liking.

    If GK wins (meaning that superpartners are found at the LHC OR that any of the above statements are found to be wrong) my friend will wear a T-shirt of GK’s design, with a photo exchanged as proof.
    If my friend wins (meaning that superpartners are not found at the LHC AND that all of the above statements remain valid), GK will wear a T-shirt of my friend’s design, with a photo exchanged as proof.

    Such a bet between “susy or anything else new” and “nothing new” seems heavily weighed in Kane’s favour. Being in the first camp, but fearing that the second is right, I am as curious as anybody else about how things will turn out. All the best to you and your blog! Jan

  2. M says:

    Even if SUSY-like new physics will be seen, more likely LHC will not give enough data to establish if it is SUSY or something else.

  3. piscator says:


    Your friend has already lost his bet. From the CMB we already know that there is more dark matter than baryons, so the old idea that ‘dark matter is just small black holes formed from baryons’ is already dead. And the Planck momentum isn’t very big, any macroscopic experiment can exceed it.

  4. Clyde Davies says:

    In Wales, we renege on bets. Please watch your language in future.

  5. Krzysztof says:

    Slightly off-topic:

    “If you have seen the movie Particle Fever about the discovery of the Higgs boson, you have heard the theorists saying that the only choices today are between Super-symmetry and the Landscape. Don’t believe them (…) The Landscape surrenders to perpetual ignorance (…) Perhaps only the theory phenomenologists should be allowed to publish in general readership journals or to comment in movies.”

    B. Richer,

  6. Peter Woit says:


    Good point. Any deviation from the SM at the LHC is likely to be greeted as evidence for SUSY.

    Saw that last night, well worth reading, will likely discuss in a separate posting.

  7. Too Distinguished says:

    Adam Falkowski is hilarious.

  8. Anony says:

    Adam Falkowski’s bet is very commendable — he really risked $10K for a mere $100, and that too while betting against SUSY, which is like the holy grail. He did this based on the 1% fine-tuning needed in SUSY as his blog says. I think the rest of the bets, some made by much more famous physicists, pale in comparison. The Jester-Lubos bet is surely THE SUSY bet to beat all bets.

  9. E says:

    Why are the bets so small? Why not some serious money like a month’s salary or a year’s salary?

  10. markusM says:

    right, my point.
    I guess most people are just lacking true physical instinct. (Except for Garrett Lisi of course -:)).
    As far as I can tell betting against supersymmetry is one of the most easy ways to earn money.
    Where are the bets in favour of large extra dimensions and microscopic black holes by the way ?

  11. Clyde Davies says:

    Peter: thank you.

  12. Clyde Davies says:

    Sorry, that should have been ‘diolch yn fawr’. 😉

  13. Garrett says:

    I admire Frank Wilczek a great deal, and it was big of him to take the SUSY bet I proposed during a conference. Frank chose the amount and the decision date. It does now appear he chose a decision date that will come before we can get new discoveries from the second run of the LHC. To me, this seems not completely fair, but he did choose the date, and the Pacific Science Institute could use a nice $1k whiteboard. Once the first bet is settled and paid I would be happy to place another similar bet with a date further out.

  14. Anon says:

    Reading through the comments, it looks like it may still be awhile before Motl is forced to pay up:

    “On the other hand, you’re the winner after 30 inverse femtobarns (at 14 TeV, or more than 12 TeV) if no “discovery paper” of this kind is in the waiting line.”

    Unless I’m mistaken, the LHC has been running well beneath 12 TeV, so no data relevant to the bet has been collected yet.

  15. tulpoeid says:

    I’m surprised to read that Kane thinks he can’t find anyone to bet against. Actually, I was thinking recently that it’s high time to search for a serious relevant bet, as one doesn’t hear about these things as often anymore 😉
    I wonder if he (or anyone else, for that matter) has set something up on his blog already and if he’s willing to bet against non-famous physicists…

  16. John Baez says:

    For some reason the physicist David Ring bet me case of scotch against a check for a penny that there would be ‘strong evidence’ for supersymmetry by 2010. Like a true gentleman, he offered to pay up on January 2nd, 2011:

    Hello John,

    I believe I owe you a case of scotch. I knew they’d go over schedule at the LHC, but not by this much! (we could always double the stakes and give them another 10 years. 🙂

    If you are indeed in Singapore, then that makes things a bit difficult. The selection available for delivery is limited, and the prices are exorbitant!

    I can send a case of something nice to Riverside, but at Singapore prices I can only afford something cheap. Rather than send something you would not enjoy, I could send a single bottle of something nicer, like Johnnie Walker Blue Label or Chivas Regal Salute. If you prefer single malts I can afford 3 bottles of Macallan 12 year.

    Please let me know your preferences, and send delivery instructions.

    Dave Ring

    He wound up getting me a case of Laphroaig, and I still have one bottle left.

  17. Peter Woit says:

    Hi John,
    Thanks for letting us know that story. It’s interesting that there seems to be some correlation between high enthusiasm for SUSY and unreasonable expectations about the operations of accelerators. Kane’s expectation that the LHC will produce 300 inverse femtobarns in the next run seems to be an extreme example.

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