Whether the idea of supergravity, an effort to unify all the forces of nature, could be a true description of the cosmos still hangs within the balance quite forty years when it was introduced.
Supergravity also underpins a favorite prospect of physicists ‘ theories of everything,’ string theory.
By the start of the 1970s, physicists had built a standard model of particle physics wherein three of the four fundamental forces of nature are connected with their own particles. The electromagnetic force is provided by the particle of light, the photon; the strong force that connects atomic nuclei is regulated by the’ gluon;’ and the weak force that governs radioactive decay is linked with’ W’ and ‘ Z ‘ particles.
Supergravity was an early attempt to do this, combining high-energy physics with Einstein’s theory of gravity, the theory of relativity.
Van Nieuwenhuizen remembers the night he watched their malicious program crunch through the supergravity calculations, fearful it might untimely grind to a halt, indicating that the idea was wrong.
David Tong, a string intellectual at the University of Cambridge, UK, says that the innovation behind supergravity was “Astonishing”, as long as at the time particle physicists and gravity researchers seldom interacted.
Today, supergravity could be a cornerstone of string theory, that could be a in style candidate for the final word description of reality.
Particle accelerators, together with CERN’s giant subatomic particle atom smasher, have did not spot any signs of scientific theory particles or the gravitino, or any proof for string theory – though this doesn’t rule it out fully.
A lack of proof ought to conjointly not cut back from supergravity’s achievements, argues Strominger, as a result of the idea has already been wont to solve mysteries regarding gravity.
General relativity apparently permits particles to possess negative plenty and energies, in theory.
Turning supergravity’s mathematical machinery to theory of relativity enabled physicists to prove that particles cannot have negative plenty and energies.
A theoretical scientist at the metropolis Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany, warns that the LHC’s failure to seek out scientific theory particles deals a close to fatal blow to supergravity’s possibilities of being true.