Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Higgs Update

The combination of results does look like very good evidence for a SM Higgs at $125$ GeV. I will be taking it seriously. However, on looking at the ATLAS and CMS data, the situation is far murkier than I would have thought possible with $5$ $\textrm{fb}^{-1}$ of data. The ATLAS presentation is especially beautiful. Here is a background-only hypothesis analysis, showing the $125$ GeV peak very clearly against the falling expectation curve.

In the $ZZ$ channel:

And CMS gives us a nice $ZZ$ channel summary:


  1. When I first saw the results this morning, I was happy to feel that a definite answer was just around the corner. I did not mind being wrong. Now I feel cheated by the publicity machine. We simply do not yet know what the data are saying. There is an excess running across a wide range. What does it mean? I really don't know yet if there are fairies or not (and neither does anyone else, although they may not admit it).

    Now we have to work even harder to sort out the color Z problem before $10$ inverse femtobarns are collected. No need to rush then, it would seem.

  2. It certainly seems a promising signal that the higgs is there and even though i did find the higgs concept a little ad hoc and arbitrary, i always remained open minded to it. The upside is that if the higgs really does exist, that is one less problem to be solved for future theorists in their attempts to decipher nature's ultimate theory of everything. Still though, i would have thought nature might be a little more elegant in her mechanism to assign matter it's mass. I must ask you Kea if the posts you make titled theory update are little snippets of your own personal theory of everything or posts on widely accepted theory (semi layman here). If so, do you have any papers where you outline your main ideas and beliefs of the direction you are most drawn to in explaining the universe? Regards


  3. Hi, vortices1. My theory posts are an ongoing record of my research, for which there are some links at the bottom of the right sidebar. The basis of the theory is highly mathematical, and as such could be called 'M Theory'. No one person is responsible for this theory. However, my take on it is quite unique, and my physical predictions differ greatly from those of standard M theorists, and in Physics it's the physics that counts.

    The existence of fairies does not radically alter the direction of my research. As you say, it is in fact extremely helpful, in narrowing down the directions that we might take as theorists. I was wrong, being biased by my ultra anti-realism, but already today things seem clearer than they were. It won't hurt me to consider the Higgs hypothesis for a while.

  4. I agree, even though id say im at the foothill of the mountain and so have been taking a very long time to decide upon my route. Im also lazy and decided i didn't want to invest much time in reading about the higgs since it's existence was to be confirmed or otherwise in the very near future. But yes, it won't harm to consider it although im still holding out for an exclusion next year. Even though i don't understand much of your posts, i do like to cherry pick them for words i have particular interest in and enjoy your refreshing take on physics. :)

  5. vortices1, if you are young there is nothing wrong with waiting for the Higgs outcome. The Higgs mechanism is important, and there is much to learn on the way to an opinion. The situation now is utterly different to what it was for my generation. We have waited 40 years for clarification on this (and other) basic questions!

  6. wow, that is longer than i have been alive, but not twice as long as ive been here. Id say im probably far behind my peers who left me in the dust at university, but recently ive been telling myself that maybe the tortoise does beat the hare in the race. But coming back to this 40 year time frame, tonight i was flicking through a bunch of blogs and came across a huge abundance of information on so many different theories and concepts that it certainly felt like i was 40 years behind all of it. It really is an exciting time and the desire to catchup with you guys spurs me on to hit the books. But at the moment i would say im surveying the landscape to work out where everything is and the things im going to need to take with me on this journey. Im hoping to get onto the main start of this trek january 2012, right now i have a pile of articles i wanted to trawl through before i start attacking the meaty stuff. I keep coming back to this mountain climbing idea which may possibly be because i found your blogpost about your time spent with sonja on that mountain.. sounded crazy as hell and thankgod you both made it out unscathed.


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