Saturday, November 24, 2012

Entropic gravity and dying SUSY

Peter Woit reports:
Erik Verlinde over the past couple years has gotten 6.5 million euros in prizes and grants to fund his work on entropic gravity (see here). Now, he’ll head up a new institution, the Delta Institute for Theoretical Physics, funded with 18.3 million euros from the Dutch scientific funding agency NWO as part of its Gravitation Programme.
To truly succeed at being a big-shot, you have to have a really crazy idea, I guess.

The most obvious physical fact about gravity is that it is a conservative force. That means that it is reversible. The most obvious fact about entropy is that it is irreversible. Yet Verlinde says gravity and entropy are the same thing. I don't see how this can make sense on any level.

NewScientist reports:
Does a lack of evidence for supersymmetry at the LHC (main story) count against this elegant extension to the standard model?

"SUSY's plausibility is reduced," says Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, "but not to zero." Others say the theory is flexible; that the latest results merely help to whittle down a list of possible incarnations.

Still the results have stoked a debate about the attention SUSY gets. "The theory, specifically as something we would observe at the LHC, was wildly over-promoted," wrote Matthew Strassler from Rutgers University in New Jersey on his blog.

That might have led other promising theories to suffer, says Raymond Volkas of the University of Melbourne, Australia, as popular theories can reduce interest in others. "Many people feel they have to work on the bandwagon ideas."
A few years ago, most of the theoretical physicists were sold on SUSY, in spite of the lack of hard evidence. It was mostly based on mystical unification ideas. Now the evidence is piling up against SUSY.

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