I got a question after yesterday’s post that motivates me to make a comment.
My post yesterday said that “the LHC is gradually moving from broad searches to precision tests.”
The question I received was “Does this mean that the LHC experiments are giving up on looking for supersymmetry [for now]?”
The answer is: “Of course not.” There’s a complete logical disconnect between those two statements. The first would imply the second ONLY if it were true that the way to find supersymmetry (or anything else new) was in broad searches rather than in precision measurements. But that premise is false.
New particles and forces (such as, but not limited to, those predicted by supersymmetry) are easy to find in broad searches if they generate collisions that look very distinctive and are much more common than similar collisions predicted by known phenomena.
New particles and forces (such as, but not limited to, those predicted by supersymmetry) are impossible to find in broad searches if they generate collisions that are either not so distinctive or are not very common compared to similar events predicted by known phenomena. For these you need to measure and predict known phenomena much more precisely.
Some variants of supersymmetry (including many of the more popular ones) generate large distinctive signals. Some don’t. Broad searches only rule out the first class (and I should mention that not all the broad searches have even been done yet.)
The same goes for many other theories with as-yet unknown particles and forces. There’s nothing special about supersymmetry in this regard.
So no, the new phase of the LHC research program is not about giving up on looking for this or that. It’s about working even harder than before, in order to find what might be hiding a bit below the surface. In fact, that was the major topic of this weekend’s workshop (including my own talk).