For a lifetime physics has had at its core the search for ultimate particles.  The Standard Model sets out the current framework.  But many argue that all is not well in the particle physics zoo.  A key solution to many deep puzzles was the prediction of supersymmetry particles but precisely none have been found.  Meanwhile vast and costly experiments have been carried out to find particles that might account for dark matter and dark energy that make up 95% of the universe.  Again nothing has been found.  It is not even clear what a particle is, since some have no dimension and others no mass.   While at the same time physics is rife with proposals for a host of new 'particles'.   

While there are positive spin-offs from the technology created to carry out particle experiments, has the theory itself run out of road?  Would we be better describing reality as the product of quantum fields, information, or mathematics, rather than particles?   Or does the Standard Model not actually describe the ultimate nature of reality at all, and particles just a useful fiction? 

Theoretical physicist and science communicator Sabine Hossenfelder, theoretical physicist Gavin Salam, and philosopher of science Bjørn Ekeberg explore the dilemmas and debates surrounding particle physics. Shini Somara hosts.

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