Surfer vs Nobel prize winner
Left: Cjean42/CC BY-SA 3.0; Right: BROOKHAVEN NATIONAL LABORATORY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
At least one person is happy that the Large Hadron Collider hasn’t found anything recently.
Garrett Lisi is an independent researcher who hit the headlines in 2007 as the “surfer physicist” with a potential theory of everything. He has now won a $1000 bet with physicist Frank Wilczek, who in 2004 shared a Nobel prize for his work on the strong force, which binds quarks into proton and neutrons.
The pair made the bet in July 2009, a few months before the LHC began smashing protons together for the first time. Wilczek believed that within six years, the particle accelerator would discover a superparticle – one of a host predicted by a theory called supersymmetry, which posits that every fundamental particle we know of has a much heavier partner.
Frank Wilczek just bet me $1000 that superparticles will be detected by July 8, 2015. Max Tegmark will arbitrate.
— Garrett Lisi (@garrettlisi) July 8, 2009
Wilczek and Lisi extended their bet for another year due to delays at the LHC, but now they have settled up:
Yesterday, after prompting by Max Tegmark (@tegmark), Frank Wilczek (@FrankWilczek) conceded our bet on the discovery of superparticles.
— Garrett Lisi (@garrettlisi) August 17, 2016
Supersymmetry, also known as SUSY, is seen as one of the best ways to extend the standard model of particle physics, and perhaps start explaining some of the biggest mysteries around, like the origins of physical forces and the nature of dark matter. But the LHC has so far failed to see any signs of SUSY – or indeed, anything beyond the standard model – and it’s starting to look like the theory might be wrong.