Rumors on SUSY


In these days there have been some rumors in the blogosphere about string theorists and SUSY (see Motl, Woit and Dorigo) due to a recent preprint appeared on arxiv. Indeed SUSY is a relevant ingredient of string theory and the latter was the vehicle for the uncovering of this concept that obtained such a fortune in the community. I have listened a talk of Sergio Ferrara at Accademia dei Lincei in Rome a few months ago. Ferrara is one of the discoverers of supergravity and he gave a nice talk on the argument of supersymmetry. He was confident that supersymmetric particles will be seen at LHC. I would like to say that this was also the expectation for LEP and Tevatron but nothing has been seen so far. So the paper above seems like an attempt by a string theorist to be pessimistic and save the day.

Supersymmetry has some problems that still are in need for a satisfactory answer. One is philosophical as one can say that the number of particles simply doubles and so why should we expect such an anti-economical behavior by Nature? Ferrara argued against this question by saying that also with antimatter Nature doubled the number of particles so this would not be the first time that, in order to keep a symmetry, one needs such a doubling. One can say anyhow that for antimatter one has a discrete symmetry on a single field while for supersymmetry is the number of fields that doubles. The other point is about breaking of supersymmetry. There is no satisfactory model so far and such symmetry is not seen at low energies as we know. But this could be just a matter of time before someone finds a way out.

My view is that even if there is no supersymmetry at large, one can save supergravity. Indeed, all one needs is to observe a gravitino, that is a spin 3/2 particle, and we will have a theory of quantum gravity while, at large, no supersymmetry can exist. But this would not be enough for string theory. As a theoretical physicist I would like to see the discover of a gravitino and the failure of supersymmetry at large as this would imply a lot of interesting work to do and an incredible new scenario to understand.

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