I see people around very, very interested in what the CDF experiment has recently unearthed. I am talking, of course, of the jet-jet resonance candidate that they observe in their W+jets sample. A recent update of the previous result shows that the significance of the bump is just short of the coveted five-sigma: that is to say, for non-insiders, there is now a chance in two or three millions that the effect is due to a statistical fluke.
If not a fluke, surely it must be a signal of a new, unpredicted particle, right ? Well, in fact many of my colleagues keep asking me about this new find. Some ask if the spin can be measured (no), others if the signal appears together with both electron and in muon decays of the W (yes), still others if it has been seen also associated with a leptonic Z decay (no). Few ask if DZERO sees anything (not yet clear), or if CMS sees anything (no comment), or if ATLAS sees anything (apparently not but their stats is still poor). Fewer still wonder whether this is finally the Higgs boson by now (no, it cannot be). On the theoretical side, papers flourish of course.
Now, with a five-sigma result out there, you must be willing to bet this is the discovery of the century, right ? If there is a chance of one in 2 million that the particle is not there, the Standard Model is disproven! There is a one-in-two-million chance that the SM still holds. Ah, reverse inference, we love you.
I think you (yes, you) might be willing to bet money on this. If they told you there's a one-in-two-million chance that Nadal wins the next open, would you not bet with one-to-one odds on that ? Sure. But what fool would then be offering you an even bet ?
Here I am. I realized I have offered bets on other new signals in the past, with alternating fortune (in terms of people taking or ignoring the offer). Now, I feel compelled to do the same here, since if I did not, it might look like I believe this indeed IS a new particle, while I want it to be clear that I believe it is not.
Here's the bet: $100 (a more popular sum than previous bets, to entice you) that the new dijet bump in the CDF W+jj analysis is not coming from the production of a yet-unseen new particle. Even odds. Payable as soon as it is either proven to be a new particle (that is, if it is confirmed by the LHC by the end of next year), or if it is unconfirmed by then. I might even wait one more year to be paid, if you were willing for more security that the bump is not a particle.
You are eligible if you either A) are a known physicist (ie if you have some reputation at stake), or B) find a known physicist who guarantees you will pay the bet in case you lose. Please line up tidily in the thread below - I accept up to 20 takers. But hurry! Once DZERO confirms it, I will retract the bet faster than you can say "bump".
About the resonance: if you want more commentary, see Peter Woit's wondrous Not Even Wrong (you might in particular be interested to read the comments thread). And I should of course remind all that for once Jester did not oversleep on this one (he actually mentioned Punzi's Blois slides before I had a chance to see them, shame on me).
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