Fake Banner
My Interview On Physics Today

Following the appearance of Kent Staley's review of my book "Anomaly!" in the November 2017 issue...

Anomaly Reviewed On Physics Today

Another quite positive review of my book "Anomaly! Collider Physics and the Quest for New Phenomena...

Things That Can Decay To Boson Pairs

Writing a serious review of research in particle physics is a refreshing job - all the things that...

The Future Of The LHC, And The Human Factor

Today at CERN a workshop started on the physics of the High-Luminosity and High-Energy phases of...

User picture.
picture for Hank Campbellpicture for Sascha Vongehrpicture for Patrick Lockerbypicture for Bente Lilja Byepicture for Johannes Koelmanpicture for Heidi Henderson
Tommaso DorigoRSS Feed of this column.

Tommaso Dorigo is an experimental particle physicist, who works for the INFN at the University of Padova, and collaborates with the CMS experiment at the CERN LHC. He coordinates the European network... Read More »

Warning: this post contains no physics whatsoever, although some of you might still be interested in reading it...

Relaxing in the hideaway of Elafonisos (see picture on the left) I am led to take a detached look at my work activities, and to try and determine whether I am doing some mistake here and there.


Aug 03 2011 | 1 comment(s)

Blogging will be non-existent for three days, and please do not expect me to answer your comments in the various threads -I am going to be on a ship carrying me to Greece, and, God bless it, there is no Internet!

I am happy to read from a message by our publication board chair that CMS has reached the important goal of publishing 100 scientific papers. The majority of these are analyses of collision data (75); 24 more are from studies performed on the three billion cosmic-ray events taken during commissioning; and one is the CMS detector paper description.

I thought I'd share this news with you... I think this is a good start, but of course I expect we will soon reach 1000 papers. It should take us of the order of 10 years.

Another thought is that, CMS being a collaboration of O(3000) scientists, each of us can claim a share of 0.03 papers so far... A sobering thought!

I like to think at this blog as a place where both full outsiders and highly knowledgeable insiders coexist and exchange information. I know I often err on the side of producing posts which are unintelligible to most outsiders, but at least you have to acknowledge that I try hard to make my pieces at least accessible in their introductory part. Anyway, this is a preamble to say that today I am happy to be able to post a quite nice analogy for outsiders, one which will hopefully explain why we high-energy experimentalists are equally thrilled at the prospects of finding a Higgs boson, or not finding one!
Do you remember the dijet mass bump found by CDF in W plus jets events ? That signal, whose significance exceeded four standard deviations, had everybody around go crazy for a while.
"A blind use of tail-area probabilities allows the statistician  to cheat, by claiming at a suitable point in a sequential  experiment that he has a train to catch. This must have been known to Khintchine when he proved in 1924 that, in sequential binomial sampling, a "sigmage" of nearly sqrt(2 log(log n)) is reached infinitely often, with probability 1. (Weaker results had been proved earlier by other mathematicians.) But note that the iterated logarithm increases with fabulous slowness, so that this particular objection to the use of tail-area probabilities is theoretical rather than practical.