I bet most of you, who are interested in Physics, know what I mean when I talk about "the 750 GeV particle". Last December, the ATLAS and CMS experiments released information about a tantalizing hint of a new particle with a mass in the 750 GeV ballpark. The resonance was seen in the decay to pairs of energetic photons. Since both experiments see more or less the same thing, this may be a fluctuation, but if it is, it is a really rare one.
Or it could really be a new particle - and in that case, it would be formidably exciting. Suffices to say that on December 15th, the minute after the news were released, literally dozens of groups of theorists have left everything else they were doing - from ironing to skiing in the French alps, from refereeing a paper on quantum gravity to teaching a student how to pack luggage in a carry-on - to concentrate on the highly creative art of speed publishing. Over 100 papers have appeared in the Arxiv, and the flux is continuing. For a discussion of a recent one, see here. Or see Resonaances, who has several posts on the matter.
The new analyses presented last week in Moriond, a traditional winter conference designed to gather skiing physicists to a nice alpine resort, where they may do their serious work as well as practice their favourite sport - discuss physics, that is - keep the hope alive that the bumps are indeed due to the decay to photon pairs of a spin-zero heavy particle, a six-times fatter Higgs.
Now Tiziano Camporesi, spokesperson of the CMS experiment, declares he accepts 20:1 bets that the signal is a fake. Payable in bottles of wine. That is to say: you bet a bottle, and if the particle exists, you will win a case of 20. Or you bet 20 bottles, and you win enough wine to have a week-long party with a dozen russian friends (or half a dozen from my region, Veneto).
The striking thing is that Tiziano says he has not gotten any takers yet. Come on! 20:1 ? The signal is strong! Somebody claims ATLAS with loose photon cuts sees a 4.7 standard deviation effect...
If you like physics bets, I encourage you to take this one. Tiziano's email should be easy to get. Then please let me know in the comments thread!