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    The Say Of The Week - D'Agostini: Practically Everybody
    By Tommaso Dorigo | December 19th 2011 02:09 AM | 32 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Tommaso

    I am an experimental particle physicist working with the CMS experiment at CERN. In my spare time I play chess, abuse the piano, and aim my dobson...

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    "[...] practically nobody took very seriously the CDF claim (not even most
    members of the collaboration, and I know several of them), while practically everybody is
    now convinced that the Higgs boson has been finally caught at CERN – no matter if
    the so called ‘statistical significance’ is more ore less the same in both cases"

    G. D'Agostini, "Probably a discovery", arxiv:1112.3620

    Note: by using some sort of probability inversion, I will claim based on the above that according to Prof. D'Agostini, Prof. Matt Strassler is "practically nobody", since he is not convinced... ;-)

    Comments

    Fred Phillips
    In grad school we used to say that research discrepancies could be resolved by applying Agostini's Constant. The key feature of Agostini's Constant was that it was ever-varying in value, thus referred to as Agostini's Ever-Varying Constant.

    This Agostini was fictional, I think, and I do not know the origin of the term Agostini's Constant; my teachers used it too. If anyone knows, I'd be gratified to learn the truth.

    I do not know, either, whether it is worse to be fictional or "practically nobody."

    One could object that the author is a member of the same rogue nation as the spokeslady of ATLAS and the spokesgentleman of CMS, so it's not an impartial judgement. ;-)

    I say rogue nation because it wants to ban Bohemia Pretzel Sticks unless they're sold with little drills so that the consumers may make the cylindrical much like macaroni.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNL3CKxGjUY

    dorigo
    Hah Lubos, yesterday evening I watched "The Pink Panther 2" with Steve Martin as Inspector Cluseau. The character, like you, has the peculiarity that as hard as he tries, he cannot say anything politically correct at all...
    Very hilarious.
    Cheers,
    T.
    Ciao Tommaso, I am often even more politically correct than Inspector Cluseau himself. And a very romantic soul. To show the proximity, check

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udAoBsZazog

    this 1979 duet. Ms Zagorova could record it but she had to prove that the communist countries were self-sufficient. She had to choose a castrated chap from another communist country, so they picked Drupi of Italy. And the love between Czechia and Italy continues. A caring Italian aristocrat Domenico Martucci loved our ex-queen of popular music, not-too-psychologically-stable Ms Iveta Bartošová. They're no longer GF/BF but they recorded a duet

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92fcB9omEN0

    and an interview on the Old Town Square.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YX45n9LkXo

    The latter was combined with the love duet in Italian into this improved version:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLfDwSMeWY0

    Now, I hope you won't find anything politically incorrect here! :-)

    Hank
    I can't believe you intentionally watched "Pink Panther 2" - where are you staying now, Abu Ghraib???  Surely, forcing someone to see that movie is some sort of human rights violation.
    Hank: There are differences between the culture of Texas and Czechia, after all. In Czechia, children are tortured by their parents when the latter are preventing the kids to watch Pink Panther 2 on TV.

    dorigo
    Oh, I have always loved Peter Sellers and now Steve Martin is a fair substitute.
    Cheers,
    T.
    fundamentally
    It would help a lot when someone would balance the situation by producing a proper theoretical alternative for the Higgs boson. I have not seen much of those efforts in the discussions of last week. Still there must be good alternatives, even if these would mean that a large community has to give up its string game.
    _
    If you think, think twice
    Vladimir Kalitvianski
    Alternatives are not supported by the mainstream flow, unfortunately, so the only serious alternative is the future experimental data. I hope they will exclude higgs from this interval too.
    fundamentally

    When investigated, the factor m in the Dirac equation is a coupling factor rather than a direct relation to the mass of the electron. Investigating further, learns that the wave function (specified as a quaternionic probability amplitude distribution (QPAD) is coupled to a second QPAD. This second QPAD is the quaternionic conjugate of the wave function. It can be interpreted as the superposition of the wave functions of all elementary fermions that are randomly distributed over the whole universe. It also indicates that the wave function of the electron is special, because it equals the average of the wave functions of all elementary fermions.

    More intriguing is the fact that by multiplying both sides of the equation on the left with the wave function of the electron and then integrate over the whole parameter space (=universe), a formula for computing the coupling factor m from the configuration of the wave function results.

    So, the background QPAD is playing the role that is intended for the Higgs field. With other words the Higgs field is already included in the Dirac equation! It has been there, before our eyes, since Dirac established his famous equation. All that is needed is to strip the spinors and matrices away and treat the Dirac equation as a simple quaternionic continuity equation.


    I took the idea of the background QPAD from Sciama’s “Onthe origin of inertia”. Relating the coupling factor m to curvature and thus to gravitation can be done via the Kerr-Newman formula for the local metric.

    If you think, think twice
    Hi Tommaso,

    To be fair with Matt I believe his last article, instead of making accusations and play with words, does discuss his skepticism with the situation reasonably and with a good level of detail. I don´t know what you think of his arguments but it is in the direction of a much healthier discussion.

    dorigo
    Okay Bernhard, I will look into it - but here I was just having healthy fun with him, nothing more pernicious.

    Cheers,
    T.
    Hi Tommaso,

    Sure, I got that :-).

    Hi Tommaso and others, do you know when the LHC will announce SUSY results based on 5 fb^-1? If I'm right they haven't released anything since the summer results.

    BTW David Gross offers some "weak belief", too. He would choose "Yes" to the question whether the Higgs was seen at CERN but only two-to-one:

    http://www.madrimasd.org/informacionidi/noticias/noticia.asp?id=50934

    Any idea when (or even if) the official Atlas + CMS combination will be released?

    dorigo
    I think it will take a few months. I do not really know but it would be sensible to expect it for the last winter conferences (i.e. mid March).

    Cheers,
    T.
    Is that Agostini preprint simply saying that one would bet that the CDF result is wrong and that the LHC has likely seen the Higgs, because the a priori probability we ascribe to the Standard Model is very high?

    dorigo
    His paper does not say much, in truth. He is a die hard bayesian and he attacks the way that these "sigmas" are used, but in the end the message is only "use priors" and "avoid probability inversion".

    Cheers,
    T.
    It doesn't say much, except for childish attacks against the Vatican and their particle, but it's still good enough for your blog, isn't it? ;-)

    Reasoning strictly from Murphy's Law, there is a cliff-hanger outcome that seems to me increasingly likely. What if there is a cyclotron resonance going on, but one coupled to purely contingent featured of local gravetomagnatism?

    This entails variability at least of the magnitude of gravity waves, which should in turn withhold the gold-standard prize of five sigma. This scenario is known in Scottish jurispruence in the verdict "not proven", so then we can save some breath to cool the planet.

    Estimating reality by what people are willing to bet is a bad idea. The whole financial crisis is an example of the misplaced bets of a lot of smart people.

    Hi Tommaso,
    what now that the Higgs has been (as good as) found at approx. 125 GeV?
    What are consequences? Is it now possible to calculate things you coudn't before, e.g. the quark masses or something?

    Cheers,
    Martin

    dorigo
    Hi Martin,

    unfortunately not, within the SM: the fact that the mass of the Higgs boson is very hard to predict using other electroweak information (the dependence on the W and top mass, for instance, are only logarithmic) implies that once you know the Higgs mass, you do not get much back.

    In SUSY it is different: if you know the Higgs mass you get to restrict models a little. I think papers are about to pop up on statistical inference you can now make if MH is indeed 125+-2 GeV.

    Cheers,
    T.
    Hi Tommaso,
    Thanks for your reply. Somehow that's anti-climatic. I remember saying as a student in the 1980s that finding the top quark wouldn't be a great deal because everyone knew it had to exist. But finding the Higgs would be spectacular. And now my most trusted source in hep is telling me that the only consequences will be some statistical inferences? I hope you find a mini black hole soon or at least a SUSY particle.

    If you had to bet a bottle of excellant wine on LHC finding something outside SM physics what would you bet on?

    Cheers,
    Martin

    dorigo
    Hi Martin,

    yes, we all knew the top was there -really, nothing would make sense without it. But it could have been much heavier (there were theoretical fits favouring the M<200 GeV region, but they were not on firm ground). For the Higgs, it is not too different after all.

    You know, I already placed a bet against all those fancy findings at the LHC. And that's for, I'd say, rather four or five cases of excellent wine.

    My bet would be in favour of excited quarks, or a new generation of matter fields. I really do not think SUSY is the right thing, and other fancy models also do not win my attention. But again, if I can choose how to bet the bottle, I will bet that we do not see anything really new.

    Cheers,
    T.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Excited quarks and a new generation of matter fields sounds interesting...
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Sigh!
    I suppose your cellar will soon be well stocked. In the mean time I hope somebody finds some dark matter. There's meant to be lots of that stuff lying around.

    Cheers,
    Martin

    Hi Tommaso,
    what now that the Higgs has been (as good as) found at approx. 125 GeV?
    What are consequences? Is it now possible to calculate things you coudn't before, e.g. the quark masses or something?

    Cheers,
    Martin

    MikeCrow
    Tommaso,
    I've recently read about the 144GeV bump found at the Tevatron, any insight on what's at 144GeV?
    Never is a long time.
    dorigo
    There's nothing at 144 GeV MiCro. If you're talking about the jj bump in W+jj events, it's just QCD background mismodeling...  I think ATLAS already has a result showing no signal there. But it needs to be updated to the full 5/fb 2011 dataset.

    Cheers,
    T.
    MikeCrow
    Yes, that was it. Since the higgs is at 127, and there wasn't much talking about it, I figured it went away, so thanks!
    Never is a long time.