Supersymmetric large extra dimensions and the cosmological constant: an update
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This article critically reviews the proposal for addressing the cosmological
constant problem within the framework of supersymmetric large extra dimensions
(SLED), as recently proposed in hep-th/0304256. After a brief restatement of
the cosmological constant problem, a short summary of the proposed mechanism is
given. The emphasis is on the perspective of the low-energy effective theory in
order to see how it addresses the problem of why low-energy particles like the
electron do not contribute too large a vacuum energy. This is followed by a
discussion of the main objections, which are grouped into the following five
(1) Weinberg's No-Go Theorem.
(2) Are hidden tunings of the theory required, and a problem?
(3) Why should the mechanism not rule out earlier epochs of inflation?
(4) How big are quantum effects, and which are the most dangerous?
(5) Can the mechanism be consistent with cosmological constraints?
It is argued that there are plausible reasons why the mechanism can thread
the potential objections, but that a definitive proof that it does depends on
addressing well-defined technical points. These points include identifying what
fixes the size of the extra dimensions, checking how topological obstructions
renormalize and performing specific calculations of quantum corrections. More
detailed studies of these issues, which are well reach within our present
understanding of extra-dimensional theories, are currently underway. As such,
the jury remains out concerning the proposal, although the prospects for
acquittal still seem good.
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