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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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it turns out that string theory and super-symmetry and dark matter are now on ‘life support’ from Large Hadron Collider results that far (or lack thereof).

Supersymmetry and string theory start from the philosophy that in order to further understand the mysteries of the cosmos and the crazy things happening in the sub-quantum world, and to reconcile them with the theories of relativity and gravitational dynamics developed by Albert Einstein, we need to further extend and develop the body of physics dedicated to sub-atomic particles (currently known as the Standard Particle Model). I.e., our starting place must be the particle and the physics describing the particle.

But if supersymmetry and string theory get ruled out by dogs that don’t bark at the Large Hadron Collider . . . then modern physicists and cosmologists need to find a whole new starting point for their thinking. I myself would suggest that they hone in on the nature of “the field” and “the vacuum” (given the current views that our Universe started through a vacuum fluctuation that caused the “inflation field” to condensate some of its potential energy into the creation of spacetime and the birth of billion-trillion-zillions of quantum energy particles to fill it, i.e. “the Big Bang”.

Physicists talk about these vacuums and fields, and have a lot of descriptive equations and data on how they act and interact; but as to what they are on a more fundamental basis, how they relate to space and time and the particles that represent all the little rolling waves across them . . . Yes, it will be a humbling moment for physics. But perhaps a very necessary one, something that will eventually lead (possibly beyond my lifetime) to terrific new understandings of what it’s all about. For now, though . . . so much for the hubris that string theory is the physics of the 22nd century that dropped by accident into the late 20th and early 21st century, recall the quote on that from leading string theory physicist Edward Witten.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 10:00 am      

  1. Jim, Once again, I have no clue of how to think about this “problem”.

    So string theory and dark matter may be out the door…hmmmmm. I find myself wondering then just what the physicists will call dark matter. Seems to me that at this point they have some evidence that there is “something” where “dark matter” should be. Not sure what to say about string theory; but most likely they will have to find something to replace that concept. But what will it be?

    Maybe it’s simply my inability to really know what all this “stuff” is actually about, but I find myself saying: What does it really matter what they call whatever it is that is in the place of what has been called “string theory” and “dark matter”? In the end they’ll have to call “it/them” something. But, then again, what do I know about physics. Nothing.

    Your point about vacuums got me to thinking about my undergrad days. I remember our philosophy teacher saying, your assignment is to think about “nothing”, the concept of “no thing”. I spent a great deal of time on that tho’t. Talk of “vacuum” got me to thinking: Isn’t a vacuum a space where there is “nothing, no thing”? Oh, now there’s a conundrum! What all might the physicists do with “no thing” as a “thing” on which to base a whole theory!

    Well, I get led off into my own tangential lines of tho’t. And then too, maybe I just don’t understand what is being talked about. But I find myself wondering if all this may be some way of a “guy” who thinks he’s the world’s greatest genius (or is looking for a Nobel Prize) basically renaming these 2 concepts. But in the end what do I know? Nothing, I admit–“no one thing” about physics, that’s for sure. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — November 22, 2012 @ 11:37 am

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