supersymmetry, in physics, theory concerning the relationship of the elementary particles called boson to those known as fermions, and vice versa, and linking the four fundamental forces . In supersymmetry every ordinary elementary particle has as its counterpart a supersymmetric particle, or superparticle, with similar properties except for angular momentum, or
spin,which differs by a half unit. According to supersymmetry, each ordinary fermion has a superpartner that is a boson, and each ordinary boson has a superpartner that is a fermion. The superpartners of fermions are named by adding the prefix s- to the fermion's name, e.g., the squark is the quark's counterpart, and those of bosons by adding the suffix -ino to the root of the boson's name, e.g., the photino is the photon 's counterpart. Proof of the theory—discovery of the predicted particles through their creation and detection in a particle accelerator —requires extremely high energy levels, and it was hoped that the Large Hadron Collider would provide evidence for supersymmetry, but a lack of evidence for the existence of superpartner particles as predicted by the simple version of supersymmetry has called the theory into question. See also string theory .
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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