A Reflecting on null results in High Energy Physics

  • Thread starter hyksos
  • Start date
11
7
Summary
What restrictions do null results place on theories?
For nine years, a discrepancy of the charge radius of a proton was a tantalizing hint at physics beyond the Standard Model. Recent experiments at York U in Toronto have shown that the discrepancy in the proton radius was likely due to a measurement error. Once again, High-Energy-Physics finds itself in a cul-de-sac of null results.

This an appropriate time to reflect on how HEP has been suffering from a spate of null results for the last 20 years. Pure theory in physics during the 1990s gave rise to a laundry list of hypothesese which I will list here :
  • Deviations deriving from the electron dipole moment, that would cause electrons to be "squashed" in one direction.
  • Baryon number violation. Predicted from symmetry violation in exotic electro-weak theories.
  • Large radiative corrections to the Higgs mass. (likely SUSY)
  • Signs of supersymmetric particles predicted by SUSY.
  • Occasional nuclear decays due to very rare interactions of dark matter particles with nuclei in large underground water tanks.
  • Deviations in gravitational waves that would be telltale signs of extra dimensions of space.
Now in 2019, all of the above predictions have come under experimental test. But in every case, nothing was observed. The universe spit null results at us. None of these avenues of investigation into physics beyond the SM have yielded the fruit promised to us in the 1990s.

Nima Arkani-Hamed has responded to the spate of null results as having the job of "explaining zero". Arkani-Hamed has also said that while null results are unsatisfying, they often focus our attention on a much more restricted class of theories.

What sorts of theories and ideas is particle physics restricted to now?

Your thoughts?
 

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