String theory might be about to finally be killed off

schrodingers_catThe world’s top boffins are debating finally killing off one of the more elegant scientific theories about the nature of reality.

For ages the world’s cleverest physicists have been divided over the concept of  supersymmetry– a theory which stipulates that all known fundamental particles have heavier, supersymmetric counterparts called sparticles. It appears to be based on the theory that the universe is made out of string which was teased into shape by cats which are potentially dead or alive [are you sure about this? Ed.]

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment still has not found anything that supersymmetry predicts, and it is getting to the threshold where the theory should be declared dead and buried. However it still has fans, because if it is true, then it could solve many physical puzzles such as dark matter and some aspects of the Higgs boson.

After the LHC failed to find evidence for supersymmetry, more physicists are arguing that the field’s obsession with the theory is a waste of time and effort. Scientists at the LHC filter the data they record by looking first for particles predicted by favoured theories, including supersymmetry. Less popular ideas get a smaller share of the resources. Fans of supersymmetry think that if Higgs is made up of even smaller particles, then supersymmetry should get more attention.

Other boffins want to see experiments conducted on how gravity behaves at the very small scales of quantum mechanics. If the LHC finds no trace of sparticles in this year’s data they think that last thing the field needs is another round of supersymmetry model adjustments.