THE DEATH OF A CHERISHED THEORY COULD GIVE SCIENTISTS THE CLOSURE THEY NEED TO MOVE ON”
People trying to deal with a tragedy often talk of the need for ‘closure’, some clear-cut event that will allow them to move on. In science, the death of a longcherished theory can trigger something similar among those who spent years believing in it.
But getting scientific closure is much harder than you might think, as an entire generation of theorists are now discovering. For years they have witnessed the slow, lingering death of a beautiful theory about the nature of the Universe – one so beautiful, in fact, that many thought it would eventually lead to the Theory of Everything.
Known as ‘supersymmetry’ (or SUSY for short), it’s a mathematical property of space and time that leads to deep connections between the two basic types of particle in the Universe: those that form matter, and those that transmit forces between them.
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