Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

God Particle: “Proof” now changed to “Evidence”


In “Proof Evidence of ‘God Particle’ Found” (Not Even Wrong, July 2, 2012), Peter Woit offers more info on the almost-discovery of the fabled Higgs boson (“God particle”): Various information

suggests that neither CMS nor ATLAS have quite managed to reach the 5 sigma threshold, and CERN remains dedicated to not discussing the obvious result of combining the data.

From everything I’ve heard, my impression is that the reason no official combination is being produced is not because it would be technically impossible to do on a time-scale of days, but because the decision not to do such a combination for ICHEP was made for reasons described here. The problem with this is that it may lead to a lot of confusing explanations like this in the AP report, which muddles how particle physics experiments are done and the obscure issue of 5 sigma/experiment or in combination: …


Update: Weird. The AP seems to have changed their title from “Proof” to “Evidence”. This may be the first time in history that a media headline about particle physics is incorrectly pessimistic (“Evidence” usually means a 3-sigma signal, which existed last December, “Proof” would be a better way to describe a 5+ sigma signal, if that’s what the combined CMS/ATLAS data shows).

But does it? Stay tuned.


Leave a Reply