I am glad to see that the Higgs signal we have discovered last July continues to raise the interest of well-learned laypersons around the world. The confirmation this time comes from the fact that three readers of this blog have decided to challenge my bet that the two signals found by ATLAS in the gamma-gamma and ZZ decay modes, which presently have a discrepant measured mass, are no hint of two distinct resonances, but rather a systematic effect.

The details of the status of ATLAS measurements of the Higgs boson are in this post, where I originally proposed the bet. I offered up to five $100 bets that the two signals will never make it to a public claim by ATLAS, and will rather be reconciled with the single observed signal of CMS. Here is the stipulation I proposed:

If, by analyzing larger datasets, either the ATLAS or the CMS experiments will claim strong evidence or discovery (larger than four standard deviations) for two distinct resonances in the 120-130 GeV region in their searches for Higgs-like particles before July 1st, 2015, Tommaso Dorigo will pay $100 to XXX.

If, on the other hand, within the said time frame no such claim will be made by either ATLAS or CMS or both, XXX will pay $100 to Tommaso Dorigo.

Conceding the bet will entail a written statement on the blog of Tommaso Dorigo, and the sending of the money through wire transfer or other mean at the request of the winner.

As you can see, I was really lose both in the requirement of significance (4 sigma being enough, provided that a CERN experiment stands behind the claim), in the time frame (I am willing to wait until July 2015), in the mass window where two states may pop up (even at different places than the two mass measurements currently offered by ATLAS), and in the allowing both CMS or ATLAS to come forth with a public claim.

Also, I did not specify that one of the two states should decay preferentially to ZZ pairs and the other to gamma-gamma pairs as seen by ATLAS, or anything of the kind: so if a new weird Higgs-like particle, even one decaying to two positive muons, should be published at 129.9 GeV with the first few months worth of 13-TeV data, I will still lose my bet -regardless of the fact that such a thing could in no way have contributed to the presently observed ATLAS signals.

Currently, as I said, there are three takers: D. South, J. Lea, and C. Prohn. I am not disclosing their full names here, but they should do so themselves by writing a note in the comments thread below to confirm their acceptance of the stipulation.

Note that two more readers can take the bet (in the by now fixed stipulation above) if they so please, but they must of course provide some guarantee that they will pay if they lose the bet, as two of the three named persons already have done (I am waiting for something from mr. Prohn yet).

This will be fun! And, as I have noted several times here in the past, placing bets on particle discoveries is a nice way to make physics research more popular.

Also, I should remind you that I already won a $200 bet with Tony Smith (on the existence of more resonances, a topic similar to the one discussed here), and I am about to win a $250 bet with Gordon Watts (on the discovery of new physics with 10/fb of LHC data), and a $750 bet with Jacques Distler on the same topic. Gordon already conceded the bet, while Jacques is correctly waiting until the end of the stipulated period (one year after the delivery of 10/fb datasets by LHC to the experiments). Ah, by the way: Gordon, you should write a post here about conceding the bet, and pay the sum to the charity I indicated! (Note that only with Gordon did we agree to donate the won amount - I am happy to spend whatever I win in good wine or other mundane activities or goods...)

So I have been winning bets - but I might be wrong on this one!