Trio behind supergravity breakthrough win Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Trio behind supergravity breakthrough win Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics
The Breakthrough Prize trophy was created by Olafur Eliasson. “The whole idea for me started out with, ‘Where do these great ideas come from? What type of intuition started the trajectory that eventually becomes what we celebrate today?’” Like much of Eliasson's work, the sculpture explores the common ground between art and science. It is molded into the shape of a toroid, recalling natural forms found from black holes and galaxies to seashells and coils of DNA. Credit: Breakthrough Prize

The three physicists credited with "the invention of supergravity" have won the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for their work nearly 40 years ago. The announcement was made by the Selection Committee. In addition to the award, the three physicists—Sergio Ferrara, Daniel Freedman and Peter van Nieuwenhuizen—will also share 3 million dollars.

The Special Breakthrough Prize is an additional prize awarded by the team at Breakthrough Prize—other prizes by the group are also awarded annually. The Special Breakthrough Prize can be given out any time the committee chooses to do so. Prior winners have included Stephen Hawking, the team involved with the discovery of the Higgs Boson and the team involved in first detecting gravitational waves.

The Breakthrough Prize organization was started by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner. It is now sponsored by some very big names in the world of science and philanthropy, with a list that includes: Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Yuri and Julia Milner, Ma Huateng and Priscilla Chan.

The Breakthrough Prize committee explained that the work was awarded the prize because of its major impact on the field of physics. It essentially showed a means for unifying all four of the fundamental forces of nature. It built on the work of prior who had developed the idea of supersymmetry. At the time, the theory was considered limited because it did not include gravity., Freedman, Ferrara and van Nieuwenhuizen overcame that limitation by carrying out the math to allow for the inclusion of "gravitinos," which they described as super-fermion partners to gravitons (theoretical particles that carry gravity). Some have described it as a supersymmetric version of the theory of gravity as described by general relativity. The committee also noted that the work has made a strong impact on the field of theoretical physics over the past 40 years—most particularly on the study of supersymmetry, which was eventually integrated into string theory.

Daniel Freedman is currently a visiting professor at Stanford University. Peter van Nieuwenhuizen is a Distinguished Professor of Physics at Stony Brook University and Sergio Ferrara works at CERN as an INFN associate.


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Aug 07, 2019
Giving prizes for string theory? What next, one for the (non) discovery of phlogiston, cold fusion, the luminiferous ether??...maybe a science fiction prize would be more appropriate for such ad hoc guesswork...

Aug 07, 2019
Giving prizes for string theory? What next, one for the (non) discovery of phlogiston, cold fusion, the luminiferous ether??...maybe a science fiction prize would be more appropriate for such ad hoc guesswork...
It isn't string theoroid, and none of those scientists are cult-members. It has been incorporated into that heterogeneous pseudo-theory, but that's no different from crows, magpies and other corvids decorating their nests with coins....

Aug 07, 2019
Clever maths but maybe completely fictional with no actual bearing on reality.

Aug 07, 2019
"Clever maths but maybe completely fictional..."
True, but, with a bit of luck, they may yet turn up something falsifiable...
;-)

Aug 07, 2019
The following paper is like string theory, with hidden dimensions, and it predicts a gravitational constant. Predicting the Gravitational Constant from the New Physics of a
Rotating Universe

Aug 07, 2019
The following paper is like string theory, with hidden dimensions, and it predicts a gravitational constant. Predicting the Gravitational Constant from the New Physics of a
Rotating Universe
That's from vixra, the Elephants' graveyard where mortally wounded ideas go to die.

Aug 07, 2019
"Clever maths but maybe completely fictional..."

True, but, with a bit of luck, they may yet turn up something falsifiable...


It's the dreams that stuff is made of.

Aug 07, 2019
congrats pro
truly clever re-phrasing

Aug 07, 2019
The following paper is like string theory, with hidden dimensions, and it predicts a gravitational constant. Predicting the Gravitational Constant from the New Physics of a
Rotating Universe
That's from vixra, the Elephants' graveyard where mortally wounded ideas go to die.
Check it out. You might be surprised.

Aug 08, 2019
will it turn out like that boarding house dinner scene in the movie "True Grit"?
where the chicken surprise casserole. the surprise is if you can find any chicken in it?

Aug 08, 2019
congrats pro
truly clever re-phrasing
That's an old one i'm not that clever but thanks

Aug 08, 2019
"Clever maths but maybe completely fictional..."
True, but, with a bit of luck, they may yet turn up something falsifiable...
;-)


No luck involved, it has been falsified by the LHC, if the equations represented physical reality the parts would have shown up before the Higgs particle was found many years ago.
Just a heads up, nothing was found, nothing at all.
The are still on the lookout, but this award was given by rich people, not scientists.

Seems to be a trend it does.

Aug 08, 2019
Nice, well rewarded! More here (unfortunately and perversely including the usual fringe string hating brigade, which has no better alternative themselves) : https://physicswo...d-ideas/

It has been incorporated into that heterogeneous pseudo-theory

it has been falsified by the LHC


No and no. As my reference link above describes, string theory is a useful tool to model and analyse physics with. It has been successfully used to understand high energy, low viscosity plasma by, for instance, and can also be used to model aspects of black holes and cosmology.

This is independent of whether or not it describes physics of nature in full, a.k.a. is a testable physics theory on its own. So it is not a "pseudo-theory" or fringe theory as I understand that term, it is a tool and an often suggested physics (without yet a tangible testable theory - the name is a misnomer).

- tbctd -

Aug 08, 2019
- ctd -

Likewise the opinion that string theory is "just math" that can be seen at times is a red herring. You cannot use math to model physics at this level, c.f. how there is no pure axiomatic math theory for quantum field theory. I.e. you must combine physical models with math.

Supergravity is a supersymmetric theory which is not falsified by LHC. Arguably the analogous supersymmetric theory of standard particles and dark matter WIMPs of similar masses has been falsified (but by ACME observation of electron pshericity, mind). Supergravity cannot be tested for supersymmetry until you can test at Planck energies (if ever).

Disclaimer/opinion: I don't think supersymmetry is realized (except possibly for supergravity) anymore than de Sitter space symmetries are (since the universe looks perfectly flat and a result of eternal inflation, with the cosmological constant being vacuum energy and not a spacetime parameter). [Ref: https://en.wikipe...er_space .]

Aug 08, 2019


It has been incorporated into that heterogeneous pseudo-theory

it has been falsified by the LHC


No and no. As my reference link above describes, string theory is a useful tool to model and analyse physics with.
I didn't say it (supergravity) had been LHC-falsified, just to be clear; and even clearer, I didn't quote it either. That out of the way, I'm still trying to track down a confirmation that it had been so falsified, or if that was simply a loose way of saying 'no-confirmation-evidence'. I have no strong opinion on SG either way.

'heterogeneous pseudo-theory' I stand by that as I wrote it. When a theory has so bifurcated, trifurcated, nfurcated to the point where, like Bohm's pilot-wave theory, there's nothing to take hold of that is falsifiable, or else if there is its proponents simply move the goalpost, bob and weave, then the key element of modern theory-theory is absent.

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