April Fool for High Energy Physicists

On 1 April 2005, 8 theoretical high energy physicists uploaded a paper called Supersplit Supersymmetry on ArXiv, an elaborate April Fool. The authors proposed a new supersymmetric model, which according to them was an improvement to the so-called Split Supersymmetry model.

In Split Supersymmetry the masses of the scalar superpartners are raised to values much larger than 1 TeV. Supersplit Supersymmetry goes one step further and also raises the masses of the gluinos and the Higgsinos to high scales. In the paper, they praise the many advantages of such a model:

“We have presented what we believe to be the simplest known supersymmetric theory, consistent with available data. Indeed, it may be the simplest theory which agrees with the data, whether supersymmetric or not, at least in terms of the light field content.”

— P.J. Fox et al. in Supersplit Supersymmetry

At the end, however, they have to admit that a similar model has been proposed earlier. As they put it:

“While this work was being completed, we became aware of [18, 19, 20], a series of conference talks where a similar model was considered. While there are some similarities (specifically, field content and interactions), the philosophy is completely unrelated.”

— P.J. Fox et al. in Supersplit Supersymmetry

The “conference talks” listed under [18, 19, 20] are the Nobel Lectures by Glashow, Salam and Weinberg from 1979. All three of them provided significant contributions to the development of the Standard Model, our current best theory of particle physics. This shows what Supersplit Supersymmetry is: a hoax. By creating a supersymmetric theory where the masses of the superpartners are raised to scales invisible to our current experimental tools, Supersplit Supersymmetry is indistinguishable from the Standard Model. There is simply no point in creating such a model. The advantages mentioned in the paper are simply the merits of the Standard Model.

Supersplit Supersymmetry is a well-crafted April Fool for high energy physicists. It contains many additional jokes and references that make it a pleasure to read. I have listed some additional quotes below, you can access the article via the link below:

“Remarkably, it is only in the modern context of the landscape that we can appreciate such a finely tuned theory. It would have been rejected out of hand by traditional effective field theorists only a decade ago.”

— P.J. Fox et al. in Supersplit Supersymmetry

“The absence of new colored states should make this model simple to distinguish from both SUSY and Split SUSY, although a challenge to distinguish from the model with Higgsinos, making the ILC essential.”

— P.J. Fox et al. in Supersplit Supersymmetry

“One could argue that the existence of fine tuning in nature dramatically increases the time scale over which fundamental physical laws are discovered. Rapid discovery of fundamental laws necessarily advance the discovery of weapon-systems with a global impact. In such a universe without fine-tuning, theoretical physics may not be possible.”

— P.J. Fox et al. in Supersplit Supersymmetry
(using the anthropic principle to explain the fine-tuning in Supersplit Supersymmetry)