A light Higgs indeed!

Tommaso Dorigo is shocking us in these days with a striking post after another. Today he posted this one where there is evidence that the Higgs is light indeed being between 115-135 GeV and there are reasons to regret. The most severe of these is the shutdown of LEP that Luciano Maiani was forced to order to start LHC construction. More time would have been given to this people and surely now we would not stay still waiting. But this was not Maiani’s fault. Luciano Maiani is a great physicist and has been my professor at “La Sapienza” where he tried to teach me quantum mechanics. Today I cannot say if he succeeded but I can hide myself behind Feynman’s view to be safe… Maiani was just forced to close LEP to respect scheduling and, I can guess, for the allocated budget at that time. This was the only logical choice. Now a great window is surely open for Fermilab to anticipate the discovery. We are eager to see. Meantime we can say that Lubos Motl is half right, we hope for the other half…

Update: For some guess about what to expect at LHC, Sean Carroll has posted this. We are all eager to see. Bets are on…

8 Responses to A light Higgs indeed!

  1. Lubos Motl says:

    Dear Marco, thanks for your insightful comment. I didn’t want to be provocative or controversial with the title – it may be just my name that leads to these feelings. 😉 Read e.g. http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0009355 – a paper by Ellis et al. “What if Higgs is at 115 GeV” from 2000.

    A very light Higgs implies an instability of the Higgs potential below 1,000,000 GeV, requiring new physics. SUSY makes light Higgs natural and other kinds of new physics – technicolor and other composite models – are pretty much falsified by predicting a heavy Higgs.

    So the statements that “light Higgs” and “SUSY” are favored are both somewhat supported by the Tevatron new data even though the support for the second thing is a bit weaker.

  2. mfrasca says:

    Dear Lubos,

    Thaqnks for your comment. I am not a supporter of a heavy Higgs but I have played with this idea because of my work that can give an idea of what could be going on.

    As I said elsewhere I think SUSY could be a great answer but I would not like to fall down in a “all discovered” drama of a theoretical physicist. So, the hope for something going differently is always there…

    Anyhow, no bad feeling about your name ever crossed my mind. Just interesting physics going on.

  3. Lubos Motl says:

    Dear Marco,

    thanks for your clarification. There’s nothing wrong with games involving a heavy Higgs except for possible taxpayers’ complaints that such games are a waste of time and money because they have no chance to be relevant for reality – a statement that could be proven rather soon. 😉

    What one hopes for is a fun question but a different question from the question Which models are supported by currently available existence. But if you ask me about the hopes to get as sexy answers as possible at the LHC, my guess is that the possible “sexier than SUSY” answers are either less sexy, when evaluated rationally, or very unlikely.

    I would be surprised if there is something that Nature prepared and that is cooler than SUSY at this scale. But of course, many other people have been surprised in the past, too. 🙂 SUSY is both realistic enough and cool enough. Stringy modes or black holes are also fun. But besides these ideas with “really new types of degrees of freedom or symmetries”, I think that all proposed ideas we have seen in hep-ph literature are just modest variations of the ideas that Nature has already showed us. It would be fun to see another U(1), another Yang-Mills group, a new generation, bifundamental matter etc., but it would be so late-1960s-ish or early-1970s-ish. 😉

    All the best

  4. mfrasca says:

    Dear Lubos,

    I follow your blog since long time and I am aware of your views and I can say that I do not expect surprise like you and that no sexiest things than SUSY seems to exist (but as you know it depends on the scale: At a macroscopic level there are a lot of sexiest things than SUSY ;-)). But due to my work habits, I generally try to look at problems in a way that may seem unconventional and I always hope that this does not generate misunderstanding! Sometime I have been lucky and Physical Review editors and referees rather generous so that something of mine went through. Future will say.

    All the best,


  5. Luboš Motl says:

    Dear Marco,

    everything you write sounds very attractive but I am not sure whether it’s true. For example, I don’t quite understand in what sense supersymmetry is “conventional” and some other things e.g. related to QCD are unconventional.

    For example, when one looks at the blogosphere, one must think that supersymmetry is the ultimate heresy. Not only on the blogs of the “critics” of string theory but even among most (but not all) anonymous phenomenologists at Tommaso Dorigo’s blog.

    Most of these people keep on saying bizarre things about “extreme fine-tuning” in supersymmetry – which is the framework that is most capable to eliminate the need for fine-tuning among all theories that have ever been studied by human beings. 😉 Of course, I know that in the actual phenomenology community, you’re right. Even when 10 possible options what the “first new observed physics” will be are given to the phenomenologists in a poll, about 1/3 answers SUSY – which is effectively a majority.

    But that’s only when one focuses on professionals who attend technical seminars. The further one goes from these experts, the more unconventional (and even risky) SUSY is.

    All the best

  6. mfrasca says:

    Dear Lubos,

    Thanks for appreciating my views but as you can see I generally limit my interventions to QCD because this is currently the field I am more confident than others and not for being really unconventional. What seems unconventional are the results that are coming out and that can have a great impact on QFT at large and so also for SUSY and whatever else application of QFT will prove to be right in the near future. Rather I feel shocked by the power of QFT in giving an answer in almost perfect way to all questions in particle physics and this is also the reason why I can bet for the discovery of SUSY at LHC being SUSY just another chapter of QFT (or another Weinberg’s book as you prefer :-)). QFT appears presently the highest point ever reached in human endeavor and any attempt to put it aside is miserably failed (and here I regret for the beautiful work of Tullio Regge, another great Italian physicist). What QCD is giving is another way to manage strong coupled QFT and this is the unconventional side and this side being not dependent on the theory, may impact all over the field.

    I am following your discussion in Dorigo’s blog (notwithstanding being in vacations and with some connection difficulties) and I think that the problem relies just on the time we are waiting for an experimental confirmation to SUSY. Here in Italy we have a well-known politician, Giulio Andreotti, that used to say that “power wears down those that do not have it” and, in physics, if you do not have experimental support you do not have the power and are exposed to all kind of criticisms by a lot of disillusioned people. Without counting all the attempts for alternative proposals.

    So, I think that all sides should stop further discussion and wait. LHC is just around the corner and soon we will know. Discussions are useless and it would be like sitting in a pub to discuss about soccer teams (Slavia is better than Fiorentina and so on).

    All the best,


  7. Luboš Motl says:

    Dear Marco,

    the more nonconventional results one finds, the better. The only possible problem is that if they’re wrong, the importance is multiplied by zero. 😉

    As you can expect, I don’t share your viewpoint on the “highest point”. QFT was the highest point of human creativity and “sensitivity” for Nature’s secret 30 years ago. But for two decades, we know that something else is the highest peak. String theory is still equivalent to a QFT in various descriptions etc. but it has much more than the universal mechanical games in the same spacetime.

    I completely agree with your Andreotti remark and it would be great if one could stop unproductive metadiscussions. Unfortunately, they will always be around as long as someone ignites them. Finally, it’s great to see that you think that Slavia is better than Fiorentina. 🙂


  8. […] and unconventional views Following my exchange with Lubos Motl (see here) I try to explain what an unconventional view is for people working in QCD. Of course, I agree with […]

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