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The Promise of Supersymmetry

Fischer, Enno (2023) The Promise of Supersymmetry. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Supersymmetry (SUSY) has long been considered an exceptionally promising theory. A central role for the promise has been played by naturalness arguments. Yet, given the absence of experimental findings it is questionable whether the promise will ever be fulfilled. Here, I provide an analysis of the promises associated with SUSY, employing a concept of pursuitworthiness. A research program like SUSY is pursuitworthy if (1) it has the plausible potential to provide high epistemic gain and (2) that gain can be achieved with manageable research efforts. Naturalness arguments have been employed to support both conditions (1) and (2). First, SUSY has been motivated by way of analogy: the proposed symmetry between fermions and bosons is supposed to 'protect' the small Higgs mass from large quantum corrections just as the electron mass is protected through the chiral symmetry. Thus, SUSY held the promise of solving a major problem of the Standard Model of particle physics. Second, naturalness arguments have been employed to indicate that such gain is achievable at relatively low cost: SUSY discoveries seemed to be well in reach of upcoming high-energy experiments. While the first part of the naturalness argument may have the right form to facilitate considerations of pursuitworthiness, the second part of the argument has been problematically overstated.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Fischer, Ennoenno.fischer@ruhr-uni-bochum.de0000-0003-3758-4655
Keywords: Supersymmetry, pursuitworthiness, naturalness
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Experimentation
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Enno Fischer
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2023 03:38
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2023 03:38
Item ID: 22845
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Experimentation
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2023
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22845

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