su·​per·​sym·​me·​try | \ ˌsü-pər-ˈsi-mə-trē

: A concept that theorises that history repeats itself to solve similar problems. In today’s day and age, physicists are haunted by a plethora of theories and principles attempting to explain the foundation of the universe and discover what the elementary building blocks – particles – are made of. Amidst this mayhem resides a beautiful and elegant principle- supersymmetry. This theory solidifies the three major pillars of physics: the presence of dark matter, the unified field theory and the Higgs Boson!

The very word allows us to infer a simpler definition – the theory in which the equations of force and matter are identical. If this property existed in our world, we would have a lot more insight on theories that have, unfortunately, remained unproven till date. The standard model encompasses not only subatomic particles like quarks (e.g. protons), leptons (e.g. electrons) but also the four fundamental forces in nature: strong, weak, gravitational and electromagnetic.

Further, the model suggests that for each force, there is an existent corresponding particle or boson. Although particles are massless, the Higgs Boson (a particle in the standard model) behaves like a wave in order to produce a Higgs Field. If subatomic particles spend time in this field, they tend to gain mass; therefore, it would seem right to assume that the Higgs Boson should have mass and be heavy, right?

Wrong. The problem arose when experiments proved that the particle was, indeed, very light. This boggled minds until the principle of supersymmetry suggested that every subatomic particle has a ‘cousin particle,’ i.e every matter particle (fermion) has a corresponding force particle (boson). Fermions having integer spin and bosons having half-integer spin are the main constituents of the Higgs boson. Consequently, the fermions and bosons would nullify one-another, leading to an element with minimal mass and weight. Thus the Higgs boson would be concurrent with the experimental view.

Adding to one of the many boons of supersymmetry, the three fundamental forces of strong, weak and electromagnetic can be interpreted as a single unified force. These forces, in accordance with the standard model, change as a function of energies, and therefore, unify at very high energy levels. But as theorized by supersymmetry, they unify at a single energy level.

The composition of dark matter – an essential aspect of our universe – can be interpreted as the lightest supersymmetric particle displaying properties of the Higgs Boson. This particle can be identified as one from which light cannot be reflected, but rather absorbed, making it unnoticeable to the naked eye. Thus the fact that we haven’t discovered dark matter proves its existence!

Leaving all the benefits aside, there has been no proof of its true existence. There have been various efforts by scientists at the LHC at Cern to find the existence of these ‘cousin particles’ but as of now, nothing has been proven. Only time will tell if supersymmetry will be the hero we envisioned it to be?

-Kushagra Goenka


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