Friday, August 05, 2016

The 750-GeV Blip At LHC - It Came And Went

A lot of HEP were in a tizzy since last year over the unexpected peak in the data at 750 GeV. And now, early reports from the current meeting going on in Chicago are indicating that this might be just a statistical anomaly.

Sadly, it seems that the 750 GeV particle wasn’t meant to be. Physicists at the International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Chicago were due to reveal the latest data on the excess of photon pairs at 750 GeV later today, but a paper accidentally posted online last night by the CMS collaboration states that their new round of data found no extra photons. This suggests the earlier hints were just a statistical fluke.

“As data comes in, excesses tend to come and go,” says CMS researcher Nadja Strobbe at Fermilab, near Batavia, Illinois. Researchers from ATLAS are due to present their results later today, but rumours suggest they will announce that the 750 GeV bump is gone.

But the fun part is all the theory papers that came gushing out as soon as the possibility of this being real.

A week after the announcement, theorists had written over 100 possible explanations; today, there are over 500. Nearly all of these papers posit the existence of a particle with a mass of 750 GeV or higher whose decay created the extra photons. Because this particle would have been outside the standard model of particle physics, it could have forced a reconsideration of how particles and forces interact.

I've always been curious to ask many of the people who did similar things on what they have to say for themselves. They had just created an explanation for the existence of the unicorn.

This is not new. When the OPERA collaboration indicated a faster-than-light neutrino detection a few years ago, numerous theory papers came out for that as well, proposing a myriad of particles and new physics. This is all before this result was confirmed. And of course, we all know what happened with that one as well.

I guess that people would rather be FIRST to be correct rather than be cautious and not appear foolish. After all, how many of us would remember that such-and-such wrote a paper to explain something that never existed in the first place?


1 comment:

coraifeartaigh said...

Heh heh. How does one "accidentally post a paper online"?