Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Particle Physicists begin to invent reasons to build next larger Particle Collider

Collider quilt. By Kate Findlay.
[Image: Symmetry Magazine]
Nigel Lockyer, the director of Fermilab, recently spoke to BBC about the benefits of building a next larger particle collider, one that reaches energies higher than the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Such a new collider could measure more precisely the properties of the Higgs-boson. But that’s not all, at least according to Lockyer. He claims he knows there is something new to discover too:
“Everybody believes there’s something there, but what we’re now starting to question is the scale of the new physics. At what energy does this new physics show up,” said Dr Lockyer. “From a simple calculation of the Higgs’ mass, there has to be new science. We just can’t give up on everything we know as an excuse for where we are now.”
First, let me note that “everybody believes” is an argument ad populum. It isn’t only non-scientific, it is also wrong because I don’t believe it, qed. But more importantly, the argument for why there has to be new science is wrong.

To begin with, we can’t calculate the Higgs mass; it’s a free parameter that is determined by measurement. Same with the Higgs mass as with the masses of all other elementary particles. But that’s a matter of imprecise phrasing, and I only bring it up because I’m an ass.

The argument Lockyer is referring to are calculations of quantum corrections to the Higgs-mass. Ie, he is making the good, old, argument from naturalness.

If that argument were right, we should have seen supersymmetric particles already. We didn’t. That’s why Giudice, head of the CERN theory division, has recently rung in the post-naturalness era. Even New Scientist took note of that. But maybe the news hasn’t yet arrived in the USA.

Naturalness arguments never had a solid mathematical basis. But so far you could have gotten away saying they are handy guides for theory development. Now, however, seeing that these guides were bad guides in that their predictions turned out incorrect, using arguments from naturalness is no longer scientifically justified. If it ever was. This means we have no reason to expect new science, not in the not-yet analyzed LHC data and not at a next larger collider.

Of course there could be something new. I am all in favor of building a larger collider and just see what happens. But please let’s stick to the facts: There is no reason to think a new discovery is around the corner.

I don’t think Lockyer deliberately lied to BBC. He’s an experimentalist and probably actually believes what the theorists tell him. He has all reasons for wanting to believe it. But really he should know better.

Much more worrisome than Lockyer’s false claim is that literally no one from the community tried to correct it. Heck, it’s like the head of NASA just told BBC we know there’s life on Mars! If that happened, astrophysicists would collectively vomit on social media. But particle physicists? They all keep their mouth shut if one of theirs spreads falsehoods. And you wonder why I say you can’t trust them?

Meanwhile Gordon Kane, a US-Particle physicist known for his unswerving support of supersymmetry, has made an interesting move: he discarded of naturalness arguments altogether.

You find this in a paper which appeared on the arXiv today. It seems to be a promotional piece that Kane wrote together with Stephen Hawking some months ago to advocate the Chinese Super Proton Proton Collider (SPPC).

Kane has claimed for 15 years or so that the LHC would have to see supersymmetric particles because of naturalness. Now that this didn’t work out, he has come up with a new reason for why a next larger collider should see something:
“Some people have said that the absence of superpartners or other phenomena at LHC so far makes discovery of superpartners unlikely. But history suggests otherwise. Once the [bottom] quark was found, in 1979, people argued that “naturally” the top quark would only be a few times heavier. In fact the top quark did exist, but was forty-one times heavier than the [bottom] quark, and was only found nearly twenty years later. If superpartners were forty-one times heavier than Z-bosons they would be too heavy to detect at LHC and its upgrades, but could be detected at SPPC.”
Indeed, nothing forbids superpartners to be forty-one times heavier than Z-bosons. Neither is there anything that forbids them to be four-thousand times heavier, or four billion times heavier. Indeed, they don’t even have to be there at all. Isn’t it beautiful?

Leaving aside that just because we can’t calculate the masses doesn’t mean they have to be near the discovery-threshold, the historical analogy doesn’t work for several reasons.

Most importantly, quarks come in pairs that are SU(2) doublets. This means once you have the bottom quark, you know it needs to have a partner. If there wouldn’t be one, you’d have to discontinue the symmetry of the standard model which was established with the lighter quarks. Supersymmetry, on contrast, has no evidence among the already known particles speaking in its favor.

Physicists also knew since the early 1970s that the weak nuclear force violates CP-invariance, which requires (at least) three generations of quarks. Because of this, the existence of both the bottom and top quark were already predicted in 1973.

Finally, for anomaly cancellation to work you need equally many leptons as quarks, and the tau and tau-neutrino (third generation of leptons) had been measured already in 1975 and 1977, respectively. (We also know the top quark mass can’t be too far away from the bottom quark mass, and the Higgs mass has to be close by the top quark mass, but this calculation wasn’t available in the 1970s.)

In brief this means if the top quark had not been found, the whole standard model wouldn’t have worked. The standard model, however, works just fine without supersymmetric particles. 

Of course Gordon Kane knows all this. But desperate times call for desperate measures I guess.

In the Kane-Hawking pamphlet we also read:
“In addition, a supersymmetric theory has the remarkable property that it can relate physics at our scale, where colliders take data, with the Planck scale, the natural scale for a fundamental physics theory, which may help in the efforts to find a deeper underlying theory.”
I don’t disagree with this. But it’s a funny statement because for 30 years or so we have been told that supersymmetry has the virtue of removing the sensitivity to Planck scale effects. So, actually the absence of naturalness holds much more promise to make that connection to higher energy. In other words, I say, the way out is through.

I wish I could say I’m surprised to see such wrong claims boldly being made in public. But then I only just wrote two weeks ago that the lobbying campaign is likely to start soon. And, lo and behold, here we go.

In my book “Lost in Math” I analyze how particle physicists got into this mess and also offer some suggestions for how to move on.


Matti Jansson said...

I do not accept that naturalness is dead. Only people that postulate unfounded hypothesis can claim it is dead.

The higgs mass is natural if there are no heavier particles.

So naturalness is dead if we find heavier particles. If we do not we can conclude that naturalness seems reasonable. Naturalness predicts no heavier particles.

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


It's the other way round. The Higgs mass is unnatural if there are no heavier particles (with certain properties).

Bill said...

"Did I say we need 100 TeV to reveal SUSY? Silly me, I misplaced a decimal point. I really meant 1,000 TeV. Please adjust the budget figures appropriately."

neo said...

how does not finding SUSY @ LHC and collapse of naturalness affect the credibility and claim of string theory as the only game in town. should string theory continue to attract priority mainstream research at top universities to the exclusion of other approaches like LQG?

Uncle Al said...

"we should have seen supersymmetry already" We should have seen proton decay already. Nothing. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevD.95.012004, arXiv:1610.03597

"An electron diffraction study of perfluoroneopentane, C(CF3)4," DOI:10.1063/1.436375

CF3 groups have an 18.3° torsional angle from staggered positions. This reduces molecule point group symmetry from T_d (achiral) to T (perfectly geometrically chiral). (H3C)3C-CF3 (2 debyes, prolate top) and certainly (F3C)3C-CH3 (1.9 debyes, oblate top) microwave rotational spectra are extreme tests of baryogenesis' Sahkarov conditions - universal trace vacuum chiral anisotropy toward hadrons (quarks). If enantiomers' cryogenic rotational spectra are not exactly identical and exactly superposed, 50 years of physical theory is empirically falsified. Baryogenesis, Milgrom acceleration, and the cosmological constant are sourced. The Equivalence Principle can be violated. Einstein-Cartan gravitation is viable. SUSY and M-theory are defective

One hour of data gathering. Look.

A.J.B said...

Let's just say it out clear: if they didn't make these claims, particle physicists would be out of a job. And no particle physicist wants that so they don't dare speak against them. It's all about funding.

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


I answered this question here.

etoona said...

"Now, however, seeing that these guides were bad guides in that their predictions turned out incorrect, using arguments from naturalness is no longer scientifically justified. If it ever was. This means we have no reason to expect new science, not in the not-yet analyzed LHC data and not at a next larger collider."

I'm baffled by that statement. The LHC could perfectly well discover new phenomena which would make the Higgs mass "natural". The fact that run 1 and run 2 gave no evidence is SUSY is irrelevant. The LHC has only taken a small fraction of the data it will take during its lifetime. It hasn't killed the idea of naturalness regardless of what may or may not appear in the arxiv and at conferences.

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


The higher the masses of the superpartners, the more you have to bring finetuning back. Of course you can argue that a factor 10 is permissible. Or maybe a factor of 100. Or 1000? Really the only thing this shows though is that naturalness isn't mathematical criterion to begin with.

Having said that, as I wrote explicitly, you are right of course that it might indeed be there are new discoveries waiting in the data. My point is there is no reason to expect it.

fulis said...

This is not relevant to the post itself, but I have to ask: can anyone make sense of Uncle Al's comments? What does the chirality of some organic molecules have to to with SS? For a while I thought it was a bot and the "AL" was actually "AI", but alas.

Nut Job said...

I’m guessing the Chinese would want to build this collider for non-scientific reasons.

And from the Physics POV, it _might_ find something.

sharpneli said...

I do not really understand the naturalness as a concept if it's just about some constant being of order one. I have a super natural theory proposal: I just encode all the current observables into the decimal parts of 1.something. When a new observable comes I just append it into this number.

Thus my theory is insanely natural. Only one constant that needs to be fixed by observations. Sure it will not predict anything, but after the fact it will fit to any observable ever.

Because of this one would think that Kolmogorov Complexity ( would be better fit for any naturalness argument. Basically the simpler the number the better it is. 10^-120 has far lower complexity than 1.12458912839182389219579128371285321876487781296389127637654 as an example. Do note that Pi is also a really simple number as there is a small algorithm to produce all the decimals, but even so it is more complex than 10^-120.

In essence the total complexity of a physical theory is roughly all of it's constants plus all the formulas it has. To minimize this has some informational theoretical basis, not just some constant being on order one.

With Regards,
Someone who was experimentalist in ultrasonics at Uni.

neo said...

Hi thanks
Yes i read it. What I had in mind is new faculty hiring and positions, courses offered at top universities. Should all the new positions in theoretical physics, quantum gravity be offered solely to string theorists, or should theorists in other approaches to QG be hired, in light of LHC and naturalness and SUSY.

Should top physics departments now offer LQG and emergent gravity courses to physics majors like do for string theory?

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


I think he is arguing that (molecular) chirality affects the equivalence principle. Or at least that's what I am guessing. Uncle is basically part of the family; he has been commenting on this blog ever since. What he writes rarely makes sense to me, but he is usually brief and doesn't bother others, so I tend to approve a comment or two per post. Maybe it's just because I don't have any actual uncles ;)

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


In principle I think that's a good idea. I've toyed with that and over the years I've noticed (as it often goes with these things) that some others have too. The obstacle is practical: Most of the numbers we have consist of only a few digits, so they are simple according to any measure. In any case, you are more than welcome to try this, please let us know what you find :)

Matti Jansson said...

(I do not know if I doublepost this since I got an error on my first post. )

I was taught that the correction to higgs mass squared was related to the mass^4 of the other particles.

What should the mass correction be according to you? I would like this input to ask my phd contacts in theoretical physics about what I understood wrong.

Lawrence Crowell said...

Supersymmetry is a framework that relates Lorentz symmetry of spacetime to spin or spinor quantum theory. There is absolutely nothing in this structure that says supersymmetric partners must occur at collider energies accessible by us. For all we know SUSY could be a string or near Planck scale physics that has little or nothing to do with particle physics in the TeV range of energy.

A bigger concern I see is not so much theoretical complexity, but experimental complexity. This next generation of particle collider approaches the size of an small to average sized nation and has enormous costs. It also takes physics effectively little closer to the Planck scale. It seems a premium should be put on finding new ways to accelerate particles, such as maybe with lasers, or by using natural phenomena such as cosmic rays or maybe subtle signatures in gravitational radiation.

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


The correction (to the square of the Higgs mass) that are relevant for the naturalness problem is the divergent term that (after mass renorm) scales with the cutoff square. Ie, it's (supposedly) of the order of the Planck mass square, hence much larger than the mass of the Higgs (square) itself. The explanation on wikipedia looks largely correct.

Uli Thomsen said...

WTF else should they do to secure their jobs and reputations on a 'business as usual' base without beeing forced to admit, that they cling to a 'not even wrong' theory (let's better say: 'hypothesis') for half a century by now? It reminds me to a running gag in a video, hardly familiar outside Germany, that goes: "Same proceedure as LAST year? - Same proceedure as EVERY year!" The decision to buildt a new, larger, stronger accelerator, whicjh takes decades, would secure them until their retirement - publishing even weirder and stranger hypotheses of how the universe may work - insteadt of working out alternative theories of quantum gravtation as LQG or CDT or whatsoever. The SuSy and the ST/MT seem to have failed - so lets look for other promising approaches to quantum gravity! Let's boldly go where no one has gone before... ;-)

Matti Jansson said...


Sometimes it is complained that this argument depends on the regularization scheme introducing the cut-off Λ {\displaystyle \Lambda } \Lambda and perhaps the problem disappears under dimensional regularization. In this case, if new particles which couple to the Higgs are introduced, one once again regains the quadratic divergence now in terms of the new particle squared masses. For instance, if one includes see-saw neutrinos into the Standard Model, then δ m h {\displaystyle \delta m_{h}} {\displaystyle \delta m_{h}} would blow up to near the see-saw scale, typically expected in the 10 13 {\displaystyle 10^{13}} {\displaystyle 10^{13}} GeV range.

It does sound like the last paragraph in what you linked me is similar to what my friend said. I.e. the correction is related to the mass of the other particles.

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


The leading correction depends on the masses of the other heavy particles after you have gotten rid of the cutoff contribution, but you need those additional particles (and cancellations between them, eg because of susy) to get rid of the contributions to begin with. No particles, no solution to the naturalness problem. That's the reason so many particle physicists thought the LHC would see something new, exactly because if the new particles are too heavy you get back a finetuning issue from their contributions to the Higgs mass.

Matti Jansson said...


It kinda sounds like the normal infinities you get for all particles. What is the reason to not just explain it away using renormalization?

I do feel I have enough to talk to my phd contacts again.

Uncle Al said...

@Fulis, @Sabine.

… 1) Baryogenesis happened, violating deep conservation laws.
… 2) The universal violations are Sakharov conditions - thereafter ignored.
… 3) One condition is parity violation, trace vacuum mirror asymmetry, vacuum chiral anisotropy.
… 4) Physical theory is forever curve fitting parity and other chiral symmetry breakings because theory postulates the vacuum is exactly mirror-symmetric; "beauty" demands it.
… 5) A left foot is not identically fit by a pair of opposite shoes. The right shoe fits with a larger energy cost.

… A) Two masses embedding in vacuum with non-identical energies have non-identical minimum action trajectories - Equivalence Principle violation.
… B) Baryogenesis is sourced (postulated Sakharov conditions).
… C) Noetherian conservation of angular momentum requires exact vacuum isotropy. Universal vacuum trace chiral anisotropy - everywhere matter exists - universally leaks Milgrom acceleration. No dark matter.
… D) The cosmological constant "naturally" appears, DOI:10.3847/0004-637X/829/1/47, arXiv:1607.01128
… E) SUSY is fundamentally wrong. M-theory achiral gravitations, and all other archiral gravitations, are defective.
… F) A molecule (~0.2 nm³ chiral emergence) whose mirror images are maximally non-identical (opposite shoes) will energetically non-identically embed in chiral vacuum (a left foot). Their microwave rotational spectra (3-300 GHz, 0.144-144 kelvin; vibrations begin 10-fold higher in energy) are not exactly identical and/or not exactly superposed. To exceed spectral resolution, use a 3:1 ratio (right-handed)/(left-handed) mixture. Unresolved line broadening will be 3:1 asymmetric. The enantiomeric molecules are opposite shoes differentially embedded in chiral anisotropic vacuum background (a trace left foot).
… G) 50 years of physical theory are empirically falsified at the postulate level.

The sure thing observation - good or bad - is a polycyclic (multiply-connected), rigid with no flexible or spinnable substructure (sharp rotational transition lines), low molecular weight (intense transition), extreme geometric chiral divergence (calculable), polar (quantized rotation is an EM dipole transition), prolate top (calculable spectral lines) molecule. It requires a commercial chirped pulse FT microwave spectrometer (, 40,000:1 S/N), a vacuum supersonic expansion port to create a cryogenic molecular beam (14 kelvin or lower), and one hour. Dr. Melanie Schnell has one.
… Wrong molecules for calculated maximum output divergence,

If one symmetric sharp line is seen, the foregoing is not explanative.
If one 3:1 asymmetrically broadened line is seen, gravitation, particle theory, the Big Bang, and the universe are tightly explained. One hour in commercial equipment. Using nitrile, -CN, as the polar substituent introduces nitrogen hyperfine coupling. The spectral line, with an added triplet, is self-calibrating.

Extreme molecular probes, including literature efficient synthesis of gram amounts in direct 3:1 chiral ratio from a common inermediate, are

2-cyano-D_3-trishomocubane (4.2 debyes, CHI = 0.885)
2-trifluoromethyl-D_3-trishomocubane (2.0 debyes, CHI = 0.916)

(The first must be dilute in vacuum versus polar dimers and has a low vapor pressure. The second is volatile and monomeric, but must be cold to suppress trifluoromethyl spin, The 2-fluoro has lowered CHI and dipole moment.)

A good idea need only be testable. It is believable afterward – the opposite of contemporary physical theory. That is why it fails (re OPERA superluminal muon neutrinos).

neo said...

@Lawrence Crowell said...

does SUSY then make testable predictions that can be falsified?

how is SUSY broken, and again, does SUSY breaking then make testable predictions that can be falsified?

if not, then perhaps other lines of research that can make testable predictions should be pursued

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


Because the dependence on the cutoff is quadratic. (Rather than logarithmic.)

Louis Tagliaferro said...

Is it me or some of the others who missed your point? I thought you were mostly arguing there are more promising areas for research and resources, that scientist need to recognize it. Just because something is not disproved doesn’t mean it’s reasonably viable; it’s often been said (correctly) just because god's existence can’t be absolutely disproved doesn’t mean it’s rational to believe he exists either.

I believe it usually comes down to human behavior (emotion). I don’t think enough researchers realize or see the parts of their arguments that are swayed mostly by faith in their belief, what is not a purely scientific or fact based rational.

@Uncle Al,

I like to read the comment section and have been here a while. Like Fulis, I almost never understand much of what you write and I’d like too. You may not want to write at a lesser more explanatory level, but if you do I’d appreciate understanding a bit more of what you say.

Frank Potter said...

“Finally, for anomaly cancellation to work you need equally many leptons as quarks,...” This decades old idea is not the only way to have anomaly cancellation. For example, suppose there are 3 lepton families and 4 quark families, then if each family represents a different discrete symmetry subgroup of SU(2), one can calculate lepton mixing angles and quark mixing angles that agree with the empirically determines values. Consequently, all 3 lepton families are acting collectively to mimic SU(2) and also all 4 quark families would be acting together to mimic SU(2). Therefore, direct anomaly cancellation via collective lepton SU(2) with collective quark SU(2).

Of course, both approaches have problems. The old way of matching one lepton family to one quark family does not dictate which lepton family to which quark family because any matching will work, and there is no inherent limitation on the number of quark families. And the new way requires 4 quark families exactly of which we have no evidence for a 4th quark family. However, a 4th quark family could possibly solve several problems, including the BAU origin by increasing the Jarlskog value by about 13 orders of magnitude.

Lawrence Crowell said...


Most of the predictions of SUSY are within some model of gauge fields and fermions. The standard model of electroweak interactions plus QCD is the usual. SUSY can be made to predict loads of different stuff with different models. Back the the standard model issue the theoretical interest is that SU(3)xSU(2)xU(1) with SUSY has a renormalization group flow that converges to a common value for the coupling terms for these interactions. This occurs at around the GUT to Planck energy and is called the gauge hierarchy. So within this model there are then predicted superpartners of the fermion and vector particles. There are also additional Higgs fields as well.

These particles should get their mass from the Higgs field, which is extended with SUSY. The masses of these super partner particles can't be too far out of line with the maximum mass for the Higgs. The Higgs field has a quartic potential and if the bare mass is too large it is not possible to control the renormalized mass to GeV-TeV range. The mass goes to the Planck mass, so we are not likely to have a TeV mass Higgs particle. The bugger of it all is the LHC is not yielding any clue about the scalar top quark (stop) or Higgs particles. There is a slight diphoton production excess that is tantalizing, but there is not enough signal to draw firm conclusions. These experimental front has not been kind to a lot of theory and a whole lot more phenomenology.

So there is potentially a lot of open room here. I think SUSY, as a relationship between quantum and spacetime physics, may have some relationship to entanglement entropy and spacetime. Could Verlinde's dark matter interpretation be transformed into a SUSY picture where the two are aspects of some general system? With SUSY and string theory, what bearing do these have on LQG and dynamic triangulation? If LQG is false then why would something so close to general relativity be completely wrong? Conversely, string theory with its enormous mathematical richness, should that turn out to be completely false we might ponder how that might be. Which of these, string vs LQG and related, constrain the other, or is no relationship at all? I don't hold religiously to any of these as absolute; they are all grist for the mill.

David Brown said...

"The standard model, however, works just fine without supersymmetric partners."
According to Burton Richter, fundamental progress in theoretical physics tends to come from simplification — and supersymmetry does not seem to be simplification.
Is "Naturalness" Unnatural? Presentaton at SUSY '06, Prof. Burton Richter, Stanford University, 14 June 2006

neo said...


a theory with as many free parameters as SUSY it shouldn't be surprising there is gauge coupling. and if a GUT scale collider discovers there is no gauge coupling, would this falsify SUSY?

these additional higgs fields have not been found.

what observation would falsify the SUSY framework?

how is SUSY broken, and does this sector make detailed predictions a collider can falsify?


Unknown said...

Uncle Al also comments on chemistry. On the things I was a specialist in,
his blatherings were not nonsense, just strange. Sometimes he was actually correct!
But this was not recently. I think he may well be actually correct about the meaning of rotational spectra of chiral molecules. And the lines are so very, very sharp
that with a big enough apparatus ... maybe interesting. Numerically I know nothing (and suspect he doesn't know either) about how big is needed. Note that lower dipole moments make sharper lines, harder experiments, bigger apparatus.

David Schroeder said...

It is in the nature of our species to explore the unknown. When Christopher Columbus set sail with his small flotilla, he had no clue that he would discover a vast land area of 15.6 million square miles inhabited by millions of people ranging from hunter-gatherer groups to sophisticated civilizations with advanced knowledge of astronomy and architecture. Once again we are confronted with a Terra Incognita; though likely, as with Columbus, other civilizations throughout the Cosmos have already explored this unknown territory.

It would be wonderful to have a global initiative in which interested nations contribute whatever they can afford towards the construction of a new generation particle collider. Once such a machine is constructed our modern day 'lookouts' will be searching for bumps in the data, just as Columbus, and his crew, looked for bumps on the horizon indicating new land. The same excitement that those intrepid explorers of five centuries past felt on sighting an island in the Bahamas, will be felt by our modern day explorers should they initially find a single new particle, perhaps a member of a small 'archipelago' of particles. With any luck, later explorations, at higher energies, might reveal an entire 'continent' of new particles, and the champagne will be flowing freely!

Uncle Al said...

A big "thank you" to Dr. Hossenfelder for letting us discuss an empirical approach to understanding physical theory.

@Unknown I created structural chemistry that fully reduced to practice Petitjean's n-dimensional quantitative chiral divergence and its normalized measure CHI. His Chemistry Department got him to CHI = 0.68. I repeatedly did CHI = 1. Success required not math but perspective. Those structures were the inputs to Novack's DFT paper, below.

The rules for CHI = 1 are explicit, as is their one exception. If CHI=0.9996 is close enough for you...what rules? Microwave experiment structures walk another path to CHI~0.9. Protein amino acid phenylalanine is CHI = 0.058600. A guppy is every bit the miracle of life that is a whale - but the whale us bigger.

Chiralanes have non-planar Schlegel diagrams re Kuratowski's theorem [subgraph homeomorphic to K_5 or K_(3,3)]. They also have a central tetrahedral carbon atom with four identical substituents that is perfectly chiral. There is no possible consistent nomenclature that labels the sense of handedness. Godel's theorem incarnate?

A. M. Schwartz, M. Petitjean, "[6.6]Chiralane: a remarkably symmetric chiral molecule," Symmetry: Culture and Science 19(4) 307-316 (2008)
Igor Novak, "Structure and properties of some chiralanes and chirolanes," Mol. Phys. (2018), DOI:10.1080/00268976.2018.1434247

"blatherings were not nonsense, just strange" If it is obvious to one skilled in the art, it is not patentable. Tell us how to make a 30 wt-% solution (single molecules) of copper phthalocyanine in Plexiglas as a masterbatch dye. That was one part of a pre-funded $million project. The VP R&D flushed crimson and yelled "GODDAMNIT! It CAN'T work that way!" I gave him 500 g of the stuff, net cost of materials and processing about $300. Perhaps he was wrong.

"Sometimes he was actually correct!" The microwave experiment's output might be extraordinary or crap. Everything leading up to it is literature flawless doable in every way. The apparatus is commercial at, so look at the pictures re its size. FT microwave spectrometers are now compact. In-process sample size can be nanograms. Literature synthesis is net grams.

Look. "GODDAMNIT! It CAN'T work that way!" Physical reality is not a peer vote.

Rob van Son (Not a physicist, just an amateur) said...

"When Christopher Columbus set sail with his small flotilla, he had no clue that he would discover a vast land area of 15.6 million square miles inhabited by millions of people ranging from hunter-gatherer groups to sophisticated civilizations with advanced knowledge of astronomy and architecture"

Actually, he died decades later while still convinced that he had reached "India".

Those opposed to his original exploid argued that the world was much bigger than Columbus believed and that his expedition would have starved long before they would reach India. As it happened, Columbus and his expedition nearly starved before they reached the Caribic.

FaceMD said...

As a lay person, I have not understood a whole lot of the ideas and theories presented in your blog, but have thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless. As one who constantly encounters charlatans and professionals with conflicts of interest in my own field, I appreciate your honesty and skepticism of modern physics theories. I know this may be a laughable question from your perspective, but I wonder if you have any opinions of Andrew Thomas's ideas in his series Hidden in Plain Sight (especially his more "original" theories)?

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


I do not know Andrew Thomas or the series which you mention, sorry.

neo said...


you allow alot of off topic comments :(

Sabine Hossenfelder said...

yeah, sorry. I shouldn't have answered to that question about Uncle. But it's a recurring question (which I usually don't publish), so I thought it'd be worth a few words. You're right though, enough now.

Lawrence Crowell said...

@ neo,

The so called free parameters in SUSY are only those of the gauge theory imposed on it. SUSY does have the property of doubling things with particles and their super-partners. As for breaking SUSY, I am only really familiar with the Fayet Iliopoulos, which adjusts the Hamiltonian to a value other than zero. As for falsifiable, SUSY may only be falsifiable at Planck scales. Below that, and as far below as we probe nature, all we might be able to determine is if SUSY operates on this scale or not.

neo said...


for your next blog post i'm intrigued by the claim that stacy mcgaugh's radial acceleration relation can be used to in conjunction with redshift to distinguish dark matter vs modified gravity, MOND in the paper you wrote.

what does dark matter predicts in the redshift of RAR vs MOND
what is needed to measure this redshift of the RAR

sounds like a nobel prize to me :)

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


No, there's no Nobel prize here. For all I have seen of particle dark matter simulations you can make these fit any redshift dependence. The reason for writing the paper was just to prompt them to at least make these calculations before the measurements actually come in.

Matti Jansson said...


Thanks, that makes sense to me.

Chapette said...

"Heck, it’s like the head of NASA just told BBC we know there’s life on Mars!"
Thank you for this and the pamphlet debunking, and all the rest.

Andrew Thomas said...

I do not know Andrew Thomas or the series which you mention, sorry.

Oh, I can’t promote my own work here, but you should do a search!

neo said...


ok thanks, but what redshift does MOND predict in RAR then?

could observation of certain values of the redshift in RAR rule out MOND?

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


You can make MOND redshift-dependent in the same way that we made Verlinde's model redshift-dependent, by assuming that the acceleration constant that enters is actually related to the Horizon-size, which depends on the redshift. If you do that, the redshift-dependence is small, and the curves look very similar to the ones we plot for CEG in the paper.

But you don't have to rule out MOND because MOND has long been ruled out. It doesn't work on cluster scales, it doesn't work in the solar system. You'd be beating a dead horse. We're talking about modified gravity. Not MOND.

Can you rule out modified gravity? Well, many variants of modified gravity have already been ruled out. You can rule out some more should it turn out that the RAR has a redshift-dependence which is significantly larger than what we predict in the paper.

The more interesting question you should ask is can you rule out particle dark matter. Or can you make it fit all and every measurement?

Eusa said...

How about if dark matter is something between modified gravity and particles? "Zippers"?

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


I really think names are more confusing than enlightening here. Write down a theory and show it works, it really doesn't matter what you call it. As I have said several times already, mathematically the difference between particle dark matter and modified gravity isn't all that large. Modified gravity adds fields to GR, particle dark matter adds particles to the SM, but particles are fields and fields are particles.

neo said...


I have an interesting question to ask for your next blog post

can you rule out particle dark matter? Or can you make it fit all and every measurement?

i'm sure you find this question interesting ;-)

IMO the combination of Stacy McGaugh's RAR and recent findings that dark matter only interacts gravitationally with baryonic matter is enough to rule it out

btw with MOND, i've heard that if you add dark matter along the lines of 2ev neutrinos and black holes it might be possible to get galaxy clusters to work, and MOND is not applicable to the solar system