School of Physics and Astronomy

The real cost of supersymmetry

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In 1999, Dr David Berman attended a conference about string theory in Copenhagen. During the course of a rather lively conference dinner a wager was made. On one side were physicists who thought that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) would, by 2010 (subsequently extended to 2016), find evidence for the existence of supersymmetric particles, mysterious cousins of the "normal" particles like protons and electrons, that are predicted to exist by the theory known as supersymmetry. On the other side of the wager were those physicists who thought it wouldn't find them. David Berman was in the former camp.

The LHC has not so far found any evidence for supersymmetric particles. So on 15 December 2016 Professor David Berman, as he now is, graciously honoured his side of the wager and presented a bottle of fine cognac to one of the physicists from the winning side, Professor Alejandro Jenkins. Prof. Jenkins, on the right in the photo, was visiting QMUL from the University of Costa Rica, giving him the chance to collect his winnings from Prof. Berman, who researches into string theory here in the School of Physics and Astronomy.