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Q & A: Supersymmetry and alternatives

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Most recent answer: 05/12/2014
Hello, I was at the showing of Particle Fever at the Art and they didn't get time to answer my question so here it is. Why can't supersymmetry and multiverse theory co exist? Could there be multi verses with supersymmetry within each verse and between them? Also, why are these the only two theories we have been presented with? Surely if the Higgs Particle wasn't predicted by either theory then there is another option we aren't looking for.
- Neal Shannon (age 22)
Champaign, IL, USA


     You ask a good question.  You are correct that the Higgs particle is not predicted by supersymmetry nor by the multiverse hypothesis.   The Higgs particle is part of the Standard Model, and both supersymmetry and the multiverse are beyond the Standard Model.    You are also correct that these are not the only possibilities for physics beyond the Standard Model.   Supersymmetry has a variety of motivations, and many feel it is the leading candidate for physics beyond the Standard Model.   But supersymmetry, if correct, predicts a light Higgs particle.   The observed mass at 125 GeV is a little on the heavy side for supersymmetry, but it is not inconsistent with supersymmetry.   A mass of 140 GeV or above would more or less rule out supersymmety.   The director of the film decided to present the multiverse as the alternative to supersymmetry, but there are many alternatives, including things we haven’t dreamed of.   In addition, the multiverse is not really a theory, it is more a philosophical speculation.   And finally, you are correct that there is no reason why we couldn’t have both supersymmetry and the multiverse together.   As for “between verses”, there is no such thing – you are either in one universe or another, there is nothing in between. 

Scott Willenbrock



(published on 05/12/2014)

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