Getting Married

I am happy to report, with this rather unconventional blog posting, that I am getting married on...

The Three Cubes Problem

Two days ago, before returning from Israel, my fiancee Kalliopi and I had a very nice dinner in...

Anomaly! At 35% Discount For Ten More Days

I thought it would be good to let you readers of this column know that in case you wish to order...

A Visit To Israel

I am spending a week in Israel to visit three physics institutes for colloquia and seminars: the...

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Tommaso DorigoRSS Feed of this column.

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 telescope at faint galaxies.... Read More »

The presentation of data is a very rich subject, on which there is a whole lot to discuss, even by restricting to the issues relevant to our dear field of experimental high-energy physics. Usually too little thought is given to it, even by expert researchers, so I thought that maybe today I would offer here some ideas on one very basic issue, the one of how to choose the width of the bins of a histogram.
The measurement of the production rate of top quark pairs at the Tevatron is by now a very well developed technology, where it is hard to invent anything new. Eight years ago, however, there was still the chance to develop new techniques and explore new land.
Okay, the riddle I posted two days ago  was indeed solved by theorists - albeit ones with good internet connections and smart search engines.

The figure, pasted below for your convenience, is from the CDF collaboration, and it refers to a "famous" analysis - one of the few important measurements for which Run II at the Tevatron was considered a good idea (thank god that one sold with the funding agencies, because there were sooo many others that eventually paid off!).

In a display of nonchalance that should teach us a thing or two, the ATLAS collaboration has put an end to the Easter Higgs Rumour (EHR), which brought the blogosphere in an excited state for at least a week, and experimentalists and theorists for even more time. They did so by publishing a very narrow-focused document, totaling less than five pages, where they discuss the backgrounds to Higgs boson decays in the diphoton final state.
My attempt at stimulating your curiosity with a scientific graph last time worked quite well, and I want to try it again. This time, however, you should not consider yourself eligible to participate if you are an experimental particle physicist (or in the process of becoming one). That's because I want to "lower the bar" a little, allowing non-experts in the game, and an experimentalist in HEP should recognize what this figure is quite easily. If you are a theorist, I am not sure -today's plot might be instantaneous for you to recognize, or not easy, depending on what you work on. I'll take Lubos as a testing ground. Lubos ?
As many of you know, I expressed here my strong doubts that the rumoured Higgs signal found by members of the ATLAS collaboration in the two-photon final state was due to a real particle, and went as far as to bet 2:1 against it (you can take the bet by just writing in the comments thread, but you must be a well-known individual who has a reputation in physics if you want to be taken seriously).