New Scientist has an article in the latest issue entitled In SUSY we trust: What the LHC is really looking for, which promotes the idea that the LHC is going to discover supersymmetry. Only supersymmetry enthusiasts are quoted. I’d be curious to see some data on what the distribution of views of particle theorists is on this issue (one piece of evidence that supersymmetry skepticism is in the majority is here). Among bloggers, at one end of the spectrum is Sean Carroll, who gives a probability of 60%, at the other is Resonaances, with 0.1%. Personally, I’m with Resonaances, at least as far as conventional supersymmetric models go. The main arguments against supersymmetry, ignored in New Scientist, are that supersymmetry breaking is both necessary and hideously ugly, and if this was going to solve the hierarchy problem, we’d have seen evidence already at the Tevatron.
The article does a good job of recounting the pro-supersymmetry arguments (hierarchy problem, unification of couplings, dark matter candidate), but then goes completely off the rails with an absurd claim that supersymmetry explains confinement:
Supersymmetry’s scope does not end there. As Seiberg and his Princeton colleague Edward Witten have shown, the theory can also explain why quarks are never seen on their own, but are always corralled together by the strong force into larger particles such as protons and neutrons. In the standard model, there is no mathematical indication why that should be; with supersymmetry, it drops out of the equations naturally.
At least we’ll know one way or another within a few years from now…
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