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Sam Ting On AMS Results: Dark Matter Might Be One Seminar Away

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ATLAS Higgs Challenge Results

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

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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 »

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One and a half years ago ATLAS produced measurements for the Higgs boson mass using their selected sample of H->gamma gamma and H->ZZ*-> 4-lepton decay candidates, based on data collected in 2011 and 2012. That preliminary measurement was rather surprising as the two independent determinations appeared to disagree with one another at the 2.5-sigma level. The matter even spurred some online debate (see e.g. my blog entry) and a few gambling addicts waged $100 on the fact that those might be two distinct particle states.
With still three months to go and 663 teams participating, the Higgs challenge has not even entered a hot phase yet, and still there is a lot to watch in the leaderboard at the kaggle site.
In the last few days, there has been a total revolution in the leading position, and a considerable increase in the best scores. And Lubos Motl is again third (and he would be first if there had been no movement in the other positions), implicitly answering some detractors who wrote comments in a previous post on the matter here. See the standings below.

On my first day at the Erice School of Science Journalism this past week I attended a lecture by Alessio Cimarelli, who discussed "When Data Journalism meets Science: a "Hackathon"". The speaker (who owns the site called "dataninja") showed several examples of how to mine the web to construct databases and display results on several topics. It was quite interesting to see the techniques he used, but I felt compelled to interrupt him at some point, in the interest of the school participants.
I have spent the last few days at a School of Science Journalism in the pleasant town of Erice, in western Sicily. The school, held at the Ettore Majorana Centre for Scientific Culture, brought together science communicators, freelance writers, magazine editors and press office consultants to listen to a small set of lectures, which this year (the fifth of the school) centered on the topic of "the digital world".
Today among the three top players -those in the money- at the Higgs challenge we see the appearance of Lubos Motl, whom I had signalled as a participant in an earlier posting. We all know that Lubos is a smart guy, but I doubted whether he would take this very seriously. However, it seems he is. As we speak he has submitted almost 100 solutions (you can submit up to 5 solutions per day, so that means having worked at this at least 20 days in a row).

In the clip below you see the top standers from the challenge site's leaderboard:






You are the first to arrive to a dinner party and must choose the table where to sit, relying on your past experience of how handsome members of the opposite sex (you're straight) usually choose their seat. You need to buy stocks based on past performances and trends. You travel to some distant location and would like to know what's the weather like there, but there is no forecast for that particular place. What do you do ?