Banner
John Ellis On The Ascent Of The Standard Model

Being at CERN for a couple of weeks, I could not refrain from following yesterday's talks in the...

ATLAS Higgs Challenge Results

After four months of frenzy by over 1500 teams, the very successful Higgs Challenge launched by...

Life After The 125 GeV Higgs: What Is Left Of Two-Higgs Doublet Models

I just read with interest the new paper on the arxiv by my INFN-Padova colleague Massimo Passera...

George Zweig's Brilliant Intuition And Van Hove's Horrible Censorship

One year ago I had the pleasure to spend some time with George Zweig during a conference in Crete...

User picture.
picture for Hank Campbellpicture for Sascha Vongehrpicture for Bente Lilja Byepicture for Johannes Koelmanpicture for Georg von Hippelpicture for Josh Witten
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 »

Blogroll

Yesterday I gave a lecture at the 3rd International Conference on New Frontiers in Physics, which is going on in kolympari (Crete). I spoke critically about the five-sigma criterion that is nowadays the accepted standard in particle physics and astrophysics for discovery claims.

My slides, as usual, are quite heavily written, which is a nuisance if you are sitting at the conference trying to follow my speech, but it becomes an asset if you are reading them by yourself post-mortem. You can find them here (pdf) and here (ppt) .

This is just a short update on the saga of the anomalous excess of W-boson-pair production that the ATLAS and CMS collaborations have reported in their 7-TeV and 8-TeV proton-proton collision data. A small bit of information which I was unaware of, and which can be added to the picture.


This is just a short post to report about a useful paper I found by preparing for a talk I will be giving next week at the 3rd International Conference on New Frontiers in Physics, in the pleasant setting of the Orthodox Academy of Crete, near Kolympari.

My talk will be titled "Extraordinary Claims: the 0.000029% Solution", making reference to the 5-sigma "discovery threshold" that has become a well-known standard for reporting the observation of new effects or particles in high-energy physics and astrophysics.
Many new particles and other new physics signals claimed in the last twenty years were later proven to be spurious effects, due to background fluctuations or unknown sources of systematic error. The list is long, unfortunately - and longer than the list of particles and effects that were confirmed to be true by subsequent more detailed or more statistically-rich analysis.