Supersymmetry: a tantalising theorySupersymmetry is a theory that first appeared as a mathematical symmetry in string theory in early 1970s. Over time, several people contributed new elements that eventually led to a theory that is now one of the most promising successors to the Standard Model. Among the pioneers, the names of two Russian theorists, D. V. Volkov and V. P Akulov, stand out. In 1973, Julius Wess and Bruno Zumino wrote the first supersymmetric model in four dimensions, paving the way to future developments. The following year, Pierre Fayet generalized the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism to supersymmetry and introduced superpartners of Standard Model particles for the first time.

All this work would have remained a pure mathematical exercise unless people had noticed that supersymmetry could help fix some of the flaws of the Standard Model.

This is the second part of a series of three on supersymmetry, the theory many believe could go beyond the Standard Model. First I explainedwhat is the Standard Model and showed its limitations. I now introduce supersymmetry and explain how it would fix the main flaws of the Standard Model. Finally, I will review how experimental physicists are trying to discover “superparticles”at theLarge Hadron Collider(LHC) at CERN.

Photo: Tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) By Julian Herzog • [more photography on my website] (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons