Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Negative rumors haven't passed the TRF threshold


Several blogs and Twitter accounts have worked hard to distribute the opinion that the 2015 excess of diphoton events resembling a new \(750\GeV\) particle at the LHC wasn't repeated in the 2016 data. No details are given but it is implicitly assumed that this result was shared with the members of ATLAS at a meeting on June 16 at 1pm and those of CMS on June 20 at 5pm.

In recent 5 years, my sources have informed me about all similar news rather quickly and all such "rumors about imminent announcements" you could have read here were always accurate. And I became confident whenever I had at least 2 sources that looked "probably more than 50% independent of one another".

Well, let me say that the number of such sources that are telling me about the disappearance of the cernette is zero as of today. It doesn't mean that those negative reports must be unsubstantiated or even that the particle exists – it is totally plausible that it doesn't exist – but there is a reason to think that the reports are unsubstantiated. The channels that I am seeing seem untrustworthy from my viewpoint.

One can have some doubts about the "very existence of the new results" in the LHC collaborations. The processing needed to get the answers could be fast (especially because the collisions in 2016 take place at the same energy as a year earlier so the old methods just work) – but it was often slow, too. Only in the recent week or two, the amount of the 2016 collisions was higher than in 2015.

It seems reasonable to me that the experimenters were waiting at least for an equally large amount of collisions as the 2015 dataset and the processing of the information didn't really start up to recently. Freya Blekman of CMS (plus Caterina Doglioni of ATLAS) argues that it takes much more than two weeks to perform the difficult analyses and calibrate the data. She claims that the rumors are not spread by those who are involved in this process.

Andre David of CMS seriously or jokingly indicates that he likes how the false rumors have been successfully propagated. I actually find this "deliberate fog" a plausible scenario, too. ATLAS and CMS could have become more experienced and self-controlling when it comes to this rumor incontinence.

ATLAS and CMS could have launched a social experiment with false rumors according to the template pioneered by Dr Sheldon Cooper and Dr Amy Farrah-Fowler

So you know, before these reports, I estimated the probability of new physics near the invariant mass of \(750\GeV\) to be 50%. It may have decreased to something like 45% for me now. So far, the reasons for substantial changes haven't arrived. That may change within minutes after I post this blog post. Alternatively, it may refuse to change up to mid July. Blekman wants people to be even more patient: the results will be known at ICHEP 2016, between August 3rd and 10th. That conference should incorporate the data up to mid July.

Update Thursday: One of the two main traditional gossip channels of mine has confirmed the negative rumors so my subjective probability that the rumor comes from well-informed sources has increased to 75%.

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