The physics corner of the blogosphere has lit up following the announcement by Tommaso Dorigo of a rumour that someone (who might be CDF at Tevatron) has found a 3 sigma signal for a light Higgs. If the rumour is true the result is likely to be announced at the ICHEP conference next week.
Such a rumour could start just because someone looked at an old two sigma signal (which counts as meaningless noise) and asked what would happen if recent data from the Tevatron had an equivalent signal. the answer would be a 3 sigma signal which is a little bit better than noise.
Of course the rumour could also have started because there really is such a result and one of the thousands of scientists in the collaboration could not keep quiet. At any rate, Tommaso spelt out the situation with no pretence than it is any more than a rumour not to be taken too seriously.
That did not stop the main stream media such as the Telegraph and New Scientist doing a little writeup about it. Then the official Fermilab twitter provided this gem: “Let’s settle this: the rumors spread by one fame-seeking blogger are just rumors. That’s it.” So the rumour is a rumour and not an official release. I think we already knew that.
The Telegraph takes this tweet to mean that the rumour of detection has been denied. In fact it just says the rumour is just a rumour.
Meanwhile Lubos Motl has used another source to strengthen the rumour to a more specific decay mode that suggests supersymmetry. I’m quite a big fan of supersymmetry myself so I hope there is something in it. However, Tommaso says that this embellishment is just based on something else he wrote about a short while ago.
The only thing for sure now is that all eyes will be on ICHEP to resolve what has happened, if anything.
By the way, I heard a rumour that the LHC will trump the Fermilab announcement with a signal for black hole creation, but it’s just a rumour 🙂
For what it’s worth, I completely support Tommaso for telling us about the rumour. He obviously didn’t make it up and what is the harm in raising the heat a bit in the build-up to the conference? When it comes to explaining the latest results from the accelerator experiments at a level that an interested outsider can understand, nobody does a better job than Tommaso.
Update: The BBC now also have a take on this story with some stronger denials from Fermilab.