Friday, July 6, 2012

A 5-sigma CERNtainty Level

  1. Scientists at the LHC at CERN have announced the near-certain detection of what appears to be a Higgs boson.
  2. An American team had announced that they had completely not ruled out the existence of the Higgs boson only days before the CERN team.
  3. The CERN scientists are quick to caution us all that these are preliminary results, and they want to go over the numbers and be sure of what they've done before the tell us they've really found it.
So what they're saying is that there's only a on in 3.5 millions chance that this is a statistical fluke. Of course, this is after about seven million experiments, so take that with the grain of NaCl that seems appropriate to your blood pressure.
Here we are, watching the Americans try to steal the thunder of what they expected CERN to announce by announcing that they hadn't ruled out the possibility of what CERN had told them to expect. That was followed by CERN announcing that they had probably seen what the American team hadn't at all ruled out by their experiments, but please don't hold us to anything yet - it's pretty likely we've seen something that's very much like what we're seeking, but until we've crossed every "7" and dotted every "i" we're not going to be pinned down.

It's basically what I expected - more science drama in the style of a British tabloid or perhaps that fabulous TV show, TMZ.

Five sigma? Bah.

Posted by Procrustes 17

Related Posts:
CERN to Hide Higgs Boson
CERN's LHC Wants Your CPU Cycles
Slowly I CERN ... Step By Step ... Inch By Inch ...
Trying to disCERN the Truth
OOTing Out the Higgs Boson at CERN
Finally conCERNed About Facts
Still Playing The unCERNtainty Card
CERN Boosts Their Beams
Results Are Still UnCERNtain
CERNs Them Right! 

No comments:

Post a Comment