Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Comment about sociology of discovery

The recent situation in particle physics is fascinating sociologically. Theoreticians who have worked their professional life with Higgs paradigm, want desperately to believe that it is Higgs. Easy to understand. We are humans after all.

The twice too high rate for decays to gamma pairs reported again and again by both ATLAS and CMS is an excellent example about social forces in action. It is just reported that data are consistent with standard model Higgs. Or when the blogger sees the two-gamma discrepancy, he just says "The rate to gamma pairs is two times too high. Interesting!", and forgets that this has been the situation from the very beginning one year ago so that the explanation as a statistical fluke does not work anymore. After a while he continues without hesitation "Congratulations! Higgs has been discovered!".

This looks strange at first. I can understand this only as an example of phenomenon which we all know so well: when you go to lift in which all people standard with back towards door, you do the same within 15 seconds! As a theoretician I am a lucky one: I am working outside the academic circles and able to avoid these horrible social pressures that would force me to groupthink.

Much more than Higgs is actually in the game. Scalar vacuum expectation value defines the basic paradigm of modern theoretical physics. Extremely strong social forces are fighting to keep VEV paradigm alive since everything done during last four decades in theoretical physics and cosmology relies on it. We would lose M-theory, standard SUSY, and inflationary cosmology without this paradigm (one can of course wonder whether the loss would so fatal after all!;-)).

Thanks for God that the data processing at CERN is blind!

Addition: After the first wave of hype the attitudes towards the discovery of new particle are becoming more objective. "Higgs" is transforming to "Higgs like": two photon decays occur too fast for standard model Higgs, and we do not even know whether it is scalar or pseudo-scalar. May we will know this before the end of the year. Also Lubos wrote a nice article also instructing how to use Phil Gibbs's combo java applet to predict what ATLAS and CMS will report together next.


Ulla said...

Jesters blog: comment
susy does not (or does not have to) exist in the SM, does it? So is there any deliberate effort/ prospects for LHC to discover it? I guess that it may not be obvious that some new "resonance" happens to be a superpartner of a known particle?
From an aesthetics point of view, isn't susy more of a fundamental idea (a natural symmetry between bosons and fermions), while Higgls field considered on its own, more of a superficial gymmick to fix some questions not answered by SM? Wouldn't it be ironic if mother nature showed us real frivolity by choosing Higgs over susy?

The hierarchy thought begins slowly to bit? said...

To Ulla and commentator in Jester blog:

Blog discussions reflect the sloppy philosophical thinking in recent day theoretical physics. Mathematical accuracy and conceptual rigor seem to be conjugate variables obeying kind of Uncertainty Principle;-).

For instance, Higgs is often taken as a synonym for spinless particle. People tell that Higgs is discovered and we do not however even know whether the new particle is scalar or pseudoscalar! Why not to speak just about spinless particle. The new particle need not have either of the basic functions of Higgs of standard model and need not have anything to do with the massivation of fermions and gauge bosons.

What is even worse that experimentalists talk about fermio-phobic or lepto-phobic Higgs without realizing that this is in conflict with the very defining properties of Higgs.

In the case of SUSY the general implicit assumption is that SUSY is just the standard N=1 SUSY or possible its N=2 variant. These variants however rely on Majorana spinors and this is a crucial and un-necessary assumption which might be wrong and implies among other things the failure of separate conservation of baryon and lepton number: experimentally there are no indications about this failure: proton is stable.

But also other variants exist: in particular the TGD variant. LHC has demonstrated that standard SUSY probably fails. It would be high time to think again what SUSY could mean rather than concluding that Nature did not choose SUSY.

Ulla said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nice tvvvv said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matti Pitkänen said...

Dear nic dvvv,

you clearly have bad problems of mental health. Find a good psychiatrist and stop sending this trash.

Matti Pitkänen said...

Sorry Ulla for removing your comment. The purpose was to remove the comment of nice tvvv. Do you any manner how to get rid of this fool?

Matti Pitkänen said...

The same imbecille in need of mental health care is here again.

Matti Pitkänen said...

Dear Ms Alberta Tasle or any pseudony of yours.

I have been deleting tens comments with the same content. Have you considered going to psychiatrist. This might help enormously and you might find some real content to your empty life.

With Best Wishes and hoping that you recover,

Matti Pitkänen

John Penrose said...
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