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LHC results cast doubt on supersymmetry theory


August 28, 2011 - London

Results from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have disappointed theorists on the lookout for Higgs boson or the so-called "God Particle" and has them rethinking that the basic idea of supersymmetry might be wrong.

Researchers failed to find evidence of so-called "supersymmetric" particles, which many physicists had hoped would plug holes in the current theory.

According to Dr Tara Shears of Liverpool University, a spokesman for the LHCb experiment: "It does rather put supersymmetry on the spot".

The theory of supersymmetry in its simplest form is that as well as the subatomic particles we know about, there are "super-particles" that are similar, but have slightly different characteristics.

The theory, which was developed 20 years ago, can help to explain why there is more material in the Universe than we can detect - so-called "dark matter".

According to Professor Jordan Nash of Imperial College London, who is working on one of the LHC's experiments, researchers could have seen some evidence of supersymmetry by now.

"The fact that we haven't seen any evidence of it tells us that either our understanding of it is incomplete, or it's a little different to what we thought - or maybe it doesn't exist at all," he said.

Dr Joseph Lykken of Fermilab, who is among the conference organisers, says he and others working in the field are "disappointed" by the results - or rather, the lack of them.

"There's a certain amount of worry that's creeping into our discussions," he told BBC News.

The worry is that the basic idea of supersymmetry might be wrong.

"It's a beautiful idea. It explains dark matter, it explains the Higgs boson, it explains some aspects of cosmology; but that doesn't mean it's right.

"It could be that this whole framework has some fundamental flaws and we have to start over again and figure out a new direction," he added.

Data was presented at the Lepton Photon science meeting in Mumbai.

ANI

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