In string theory, a paradigm shift could be imminent. In June, a team of string theorists published a conjecture which sounded revolutionary: String theory is said to be fundamentally incompatible with our current understanding of 'dark energy'. A new study has now found out that this conjecture seems to be incompatible with the existence of the Higgs particle.From Science Daily discussing the following paper:
According to a conjecture recently put forward in , the scalar potential V of any consistent theory of quantum gravity satisfies a bound |∇V|/V≥O(1). This forbids de Sitter solutions and supports quintessence models of cosmic acceleration. Here, we point out that in the simplest models incorporating the standard model in addition to quintessence, with the two sectors decoupled as suggested by observations, the proposed bound is violated by 50 orders of magnitude. However, a very specific coupling between quintessence and just the Higgs sector may still be allowed and consistent with the conjecture.Frederik Denef, Arthur Hebecker, Timm Wrase. "de Sitter swampland conjecture and the Higgs potential." 98 (8) Physical Review D (August 7, 2018). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.98.086004
These papers don't by themselves, entirely rule out string theory, but they do take, what was just a year ago a "landscape" of string theories too vast to sort though, and rule out almost all of those possibilities.