Has the LHC seen a Higgs Boson at 135±10 GeV?

Once again rumours are circulating that the Higgs Boson has been seen and now they are more stronger than ever. At the EPS conference it was seen that both ATLAS and CMS have an excess of events peaking at around 144 GeV. Fermilab had a signal in the same place but much weaker. At the Lepton-Photon conference starting 22nd August ATLAS and CMS will unveil their combined plot. The question is, will the combined signal at 144 GeV be enough to announce an observation over 3-sigma significance?

Needless to say some early versions of the combined plot have already been leaked but rather than show results that may change I am just going to discuss my own unofficial combinations that are not very different. So here again is my combined plot for CMS, ATLAS and the Tevatron.

This shows a brought excess peaking at 144 GeV where it is well over 3-sigma significance. It extends from 120 GeV to 170 GeV above 2-sigma most of the way but it shows an exclusion above 147 GeV at 95% confidence. The signal is the expected size for a standard model Higgs boson from 110 GeV up to 145 GeV but is excluded by LEP below 115 GeV. What could it be, a Higgs boson, two Higgs bosons or something else?

The width of the Higgs boson is determined by its lifetime and at this mass it should be no more than 10 GeV. However there is a lot of uncertainty in the measured energy in some of the dominant channels. Some useful plots shown at Higgs Hunting 2011 by Paris Sphicas show what a simulated signal looks like in the WW channels and it is clear from these that a Higgs boson at 130 GeV or 140 GeV is perfectly consistent with the broad signal now observed.

There is also a hint of a signal around 120 GeV but it is not strong enough for a claim. I would say that overall this plot is consistent with a single Higgs boson with mass between about 125 GeV and 145 GeV or more than one Higgs boson in the range 115 GeV to 150 GeV. Whatever it is, the significance is enough to claim that a Higgsless model is now unlikely to be right unless some other particle is mimicking the Higgs boson in this plot and it is probably a scalar. Afterall, we can’t really say that the signal is definitely a Higgs boson until we can confirm that it has the right cross-section in some of the individual channels.

What does this say for SUSY and other models? The MSSM requires a Higgs boson below 140 GeV. In detail the signature would be different from the standard model Higgs boson. If there were a Higgs below about 130 GeV the vacuum would be unstable (but perhaps metastable) I think something as light as 120 GeV would be hard to accept as a standalone Higgs boson and would have to be stabilised with something that looks like either a SUSY stop or a Higgsino. On the other hand a 140 GeV Higgs can easily exist on its own and requires no new physics even at much higher energy scales. At this point we cannot rule out either MSSM or a lone Higgs boson.

Earlier I said that the electroweak fits could kill the standard model and that is still the case. At Higgs Hunting 2011 Matthias Schott from the gfitter group told us that a Higgs at 140 GeV has just a p-value of 23% in the fit which includes the Tevatron data. This is far short of what is required to rule it out but it tends to suggest that there may be something more to be found if the gfitter data is good (count the caveats in that sentence.) So just how good is the gfitter data?

This plot shows the effect on the electroweak fit of leaving out any one of the measurements used.

The green bar shows the overall preferred fit for the Higgs boson mass giving it a mass of 71 GeV to 122 GeV. But anything below 114 GeV is excluded by LEP. Anything below 122 GeV would certainly favour SUSY which is why this plot has been encouraging for theorists who prefer the BSM models. Indeed it is possible to get a much better fit to the data with just about anything other than the standard model.

How seriously should we take this? To get back some sanity have a look at the effect of the Al measurement. The fit includes two separate measurements of this parameter, one from LEP and one from SLD (SLAC Large Detector). The reason for using the two is that they disagree with each other at about 2-sigma significance. This could just be statistical error in which case we should use the combination of them both, but suppose it is a systematic error in one or other of the experiments, such as a mismodelled background? Removing the SLD measurement would push the preferred Higgs mass up and widen the error bars so that anything up to 160 GeV becomes a reasonable fit.  This is just one example of how a measurement could compromise the fit. That being the case I think we should not take the fit too seriously if we have good direct evidence for something different, and now we do.

In conclusion

From reliable sources I am expecting CERN to issue a press release about the status of the search for the Higgs Boson next week in advance of the LP2011 conference. If the official Higgs combination is similar to my version (the leak shows that it is) then they have the right to claim an observation (but not a discovery) of a strong signal consistent with a Higgs boson at 144 GeV (or soewhere else nearby). They cannot excluded other BSM signals including MSSM. I don’t know exactly how they will spin it but they will want the media to take notice.

For more details we will need to await the next analysis. Given present results and the extra data already recorded I am sure we will not have to wait too long.

85 Responses to Has the LHC seen a Higgs Boson at 135±10 GeV?

  1. PJ says:

    Thanks for the update!! Data collected before the next tech stop should definitely shine some light. Exciting times….

  2. Luboš Motl says:

    Dear Phil, I got here from Twitter of RebelAlfons.

    And I got so excited for 3 minutes. Then I looked 10 centimeters to the right – and Vista gadgets tell me a big date of today. Then I remembered something etc. 😉

    You know, it’s fun – my blog was the first source on the Internet that discussed about 144 GeV specifically, so it could be true. But I really don’t see any much stronger evidence than e.g. the 116, 119 GeV Higgs here.

    Your graph looks (un)remarkably flat around 144 GeV so I am really not sure why you’re getting so excited about it now. It may also be a Gibbs hogon instead of Higgs boson. 😉

    • carla says:

      Lubos, do you have time to do a combined plot similar to Phil’s before the August meeting? Or do you think the error would make it not worth your while?

      It would be fun to compare how close you both get.

    • Luboš Motl says:

      Dear Carla, I’ve seen some newer graphs – like Phil did – but I am not sure about their interpretation, what they really show and how they were obtained, so I am not going to combine them. Except for these (two) newer graphs, the situation for me remains what it was at the end of EPS-HEP 2011.

      Depending on how one evaluates it, the data support a 144-or-so-GeV Higgs or a 116/119 GeV Higgs. The first one has a bigger excess – because it’s easier to collect signal at the higher masses; the second, light choices are bumps safer against exclusion – because it’s also easier to exclude heavier masses. 😉

      So it remains inconclusive to me. The data that have been collected by now – 5/fb combined in ATLAS, CMS – are probably enough to say something more unequivocal and I choose to wait.

      • Skeptic says:

        Wise choice. I think the experiments are taking the same choice: wait until something conclusive comes along.

  3. gerd says:

    To be honest, I prefer waiting for some mass plots of single different decay channels, including proper error bars… This kind of plot shown here could mean everything or nothing, depending on your optimism or pessimism.
    But thanks a lot for sharing! Definitely exciting times.


    • Luboš Motl says:

      There’s more serious flaw in Phil’s presentation than violating someone’s subjective preference for one-channel plots: Phil mixes one-channel plots and multi-channel plots.

      In particular, the 4 simulated “early signal” plots only show the WW channel – which produce neutrinos, and their mass is ill-measured, which is why the graphs are broad – but his global combination contains lots of other channels as well. These other channels should be able to make a sharp peak near the Higgs mass if it were already becoming accessible.

      Because there’s no sharp localized peak in Phil’s global (multi-channel) graph, I am skeptical about the evidence for the 144 GeV Higgs now. And on the contrary, I think that one may circulate my rumors that there are growing signals of a Higgs below 120 GeV. (Of course there might exist both of them in BSM models, especially MSSM.)

      • gerd says:

        Yes, I see the problem. That’s why, without any hurry, I am looking forward for a gamma-gamma decay-channel invariant mass plot, including error bars (!). Small systematics and a clear signature allow to detect the SM Higgs or MSSM higgs and also measure its mass accurately. We just have to be patient.
        It is really amazing how well the LHC works. ATLAS has already recorded 2.3 fb^-1; times five and we have our 3 sigma (or not) in combination with the CMS data.

        >one may circulate my rumors that there are growing signals of a Higgs below 120 GeV

        Nice to hear that. But growing signals and decreasing error-bars would be nicer 🙂
        We just have to be patient…

      • Luboš Motl says:

        Those 5/fb, collected by CMS and ATLAS combined by today, are already enough to find a 3-sigma evidence for a 115 GeV Higgs – the hardest one – and 5-sigma evidence of the 144 GeV one. See the graph:


        So the data already exists for these “top possibilities”.

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      I prefer a multi-Higgs solution from a theoretical viewpoint, but I think the present evidence remains consistent with one particle. I agree that the diphoton channel may have a more narrow signal but it does not have much effect here above 125 GeV and below 125 GeV the excess is less strong. I’m not saying that an additional lighter Higgs is disfavoured, just that evidence for it remains too weak.

      The signal is also consistent with a Higgs at 130 GeV and another much higher, say at 600 GeV. Correct me if I am wrong but I think this is also a good possibility for SUSY.

      If they are doing their job properly they will also show combined plots for the individual channels and more examples of expected signals for different Higgs masses, for the combined plot and the main individual channels. Without these we cannot be totally sure what the signal is consistent with. If they dont show these plots some theorists will start doing it for them.

      Of course three times the data would do much more to make things clearer but they will still need to start showing more of these detailed plots as the signal gets better.

      Competing rumours sounds like a healthy situation so keep them coming.

      • Alex says:

        Hi Philip,

        IIRC an MSSM “heavy higgs” around 600 GeV would not decay much at all to WW and ZZ because cos(alpha-beta)~0, i.e. the vacuum condensate is almost entirely in the light higgs. So, a strange Z’ from the 5th dimension sounds more convincing to me 😉
        Others here may know better…

  4. Amazing how everything converges to this 145 GeV pion (I did not bother to check whether the mass is actually 144 GeV: this is told in some posting in my blog) of scaled up hadron physics. This new pion should be familiar to everyone after all this merciless brain washing;-).

    To me this strange 145 GeV particle represents the last piece of jigsaw puzzle. Its existence would demonstrate that rational thought combined with intuitive insight can indeed transcend the mere common sense thinking based on maximization of conformism.

    My prediction: After the bump is accepted as real, the question whether the Higgs candidate is scalar or pseudo-scalar arises. And many other questions. Eventually we must admit that new physics is there!;-).

  5. Philip Gibbs says:

    By the way, it is quite striking that the broad excess seen here coincides exactly with the broad excess seen by CDF in Wjj. If we ignore the fact that D0 did not see it, is there a possibility that the same particle could account for both?

    • Luboš Motl says:

      Well, a bigger problem is that it is Wjj and not just jj – so it has to be produced in association with a W-boson. There’s no reason why this should be the case for the Higgs or any Higgs.

      That’s why the/a Higgs boson was never a viable explanation of the CDF (bogus) signal. Recall that the viable solutions were Z’ boson, R-violating squarks, technirho/technipion, and others at


    • Philip Gibbs says:

      The other way it could work would be for one of those particles to pollute the WW channels and mimick a Higgs

      I cant see that working either, so it must just be a spooky coincidence then.

    • Luboš Motl says:

      Dear Phil, a Z’ boson, for example, can’t decay to two W-bosons. The interactions of gauge bosons are given by the structure constants and the new U(1) commutes with the electroweak SU(2).

      Don’t get caught up in an Alejandro-Rivero-or-TGD-style numerology. That a wide bump has a similar position on the mass axis as another (fake) bump is no reason for any far-reaching interpretations.

      • Alex says:

        There is one situation where the structure constants mixing a Z’ like thing with the W could be nontrivial, namely a TeV scale extra dimension where the structure constants descent from a d>4 gauge theory, be it warped or flat. But I guess that is pretty much excluded from precision tests and other searches, and with one event it’s not really worth bothering…

      • Hey, my numerology is a lot better that Matti’s :-D, at least I never claim to know of a whole new theory explaining it. But, I confess I had more or less the same thoughts than Phil when I read this article; some technipion thingie…

        As of today, my cauldron boils a soup of contradictory hints: The sBootstrap numerology gives a main role to the top quark and it needs a SU(3) to do the pairings, so it should enjoy some variant of TopColor coming to real work. But taken (the sB) in a strict interpretation, no new scalars are expected, only Higgsinos, winos and zinos… no place for technipions. On other side, the Z0/pi0 decay width coincidence could also be more interesting with a composite, coloured scenary. But for the decays to coincide, color and topcolor should have some unexpected relationship, plus a duality with electroweak force. And still other coincidence linking the mass of charged leptons to QCD appears in Koide equation, whose basic mass is the same that the constituient mass of quarks.

        Even with all of those, I am not tempted to add to the soup a so rough coincidence as the CDF/LHC one. Guess we have at least other six months to wait.

      • Ray Munroe says:

        Dear Lubos, Alejandro and Alex,

        I also have ideas about using S-dual SU(3)’s or G2’s to explain both three colors and three generations. And I have ideas about massive Z-primes and W-primes that couple with right-handed neutrinos.

        But we need a fundamental mass scale from SOMEWHERE. If that mass scale is supplied by a Technipion, then ‘mass’ would actually originate with the Technipion’s composite ‘rishons’, and be subsequently mediated by the Technipion. Can you explain why a ‘rishon’ would have mass? In my opinion, the answer is no clearer than why quarks (and therefore Pions) have mass, and this will always bring us full-circle back to the need for a fundamental massive scalar. Please recall that the Pion has effective mass primarily due to the kinetic and potential energies of its component partons (quarks and gluons).

        Philip’s LHC Higgs Combo plot had an interesting deficit near twice the top quark mass (that seemed to disappear with the inclusion of Tevatron data), and some sort of interesting physics (destructive interference between a SUSY Heavy Higgs and SUSY Pseudoscalar Higgs or an effective Pseudoscalar top-top-bar Technipion?) may be occuring there. But I think these plots show more evidence for one or more fundamental massive scalars than they show evidence for a Technipion.

        Have Fun!

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      Thanks I’ve already reached that conclusion above. It is always worth checking the possibilities when things coincide though.

  6. Tony Smith says:

    The Higgs to ZZ to 4l channel is the Golden Channel in which
    at EPS HEP 2011 CMS saw 16 events and ATLAS 18 events.
    You can break those 16+18 = 34 events down as follows
    (CMS saw 2 events very close to 160 GeV,
    so I put one in the 110-160 bin and one in the 160-210 bin):

    110-160 GeV: 5 CMS + 2 ATLAS for total of 7
    160-210 GeV: 4 CMS + 6 ATLAS for total of 10
    210-260 GeV: 5 CMS + 5 ATLAS for total of 10
    260-300 GeV: 0 CMS + 2 ATLAS for total of 2
    300-400 GeV: 2 CMS + 0 ATLAS for total of 2
    400-500 GeV: 0 CMS + 2 ATLAS for total of 2
    500-600 GeV: 0 CMS + 1 ATLAS for total of 1

    To me that indicates that there may be three Higgs states:

    Higgs around 210-260 GeV which is physically roughly where the Higgs encounters the edge of Vacuum Instability,
    and is also roughly the Higgs Vacuum Expectation Value.

    Higgs around 160-210 GeV which is physically roughly where the Higgs encounters the edge of the Triviality Boundary.

    Higgs around 110-160 GeV which is physically roughly where a Higgs is needed for the Standard Model to work up to the Planck Scale.

    I would speculate that 3/fb in the Golden Channel might be enough to produce evidence for the two heavier states,
    the Golden Channel is somewhat weaker in the 110-160 GeV range so a combination of channels might be necessary there.


    • Philip Gibbs says:

      Thanks Tony, this confirms that the minor excess at 600 GeV is due to just one event as I thought.

      It mustn’t be forgotten that there are backgrounds that predict near this number of events without the need for any Higgs.

    • Luboš Motl says:

      I am not sure, Phil, that it’s right to say that the excess only depends on the single event. What the graph shows above 600 GeV on the x-axis may also be affected by the other events with lower energies of the decay products. Unfortunately, there’s not enough room here to explain the details. 😉

  7. Tony Smith says:

    As to backgrounds for the Golden Channel
    (based on my eyeball guesstimates from EPS HEP 2011 slides):
    110-160 GeV: 1 CMS + 1 ATLAS for total of 2
    160-210 GeV: 2 CMS + 4 ATLAS for total of 6
    210-260 GeV: 4 CMS + 3 ATLAS for total of 7
    260-300 GeV: 3 CMS + 2 ATLAS for total of 5
    300-400 GeV: 1 CMS + 2 ATLAS for total of 3
    400-500 GeV: 0.5 CMS + 0.5 ATLAS for total of 1
    500-600 GeV: 0.2 CMS + 0 ATLAS for total of 0.2

    With these numbers of events
    110-160 GeV: 5 CMS + 2 ATLAS for total of 7
    160-210 GeV: 4 CMS + 6 ATLAS for total of 10
    210-260 GeV: 5 CMS + 5 ATLAS for total of 10
    260-300 GeV: 0 CMS + 2 ATLAS for total of 2
    300-400 GeV: 2 CMS + 0 ATLAS for total of 2
    400-500 GeV: 0 CMS + 2 ATLAS for total of 2
    500-600 GeV: 0 CMS + 1 ATLAS for total of 1

    you get these numbers that might be signal:
    110-160 GeV: 4 CMS + 1 ATLAS for total of 5
    160-210 GeV: 2 CMS + 2 ATLAS for total of 4
    210-260 GeV: 1 CMS + 2 ATLAS for total of 3
    260-300 GeV: -3 CMS + -1 ATLAS for total of -3
    300-400 GeV: 1 CMS + -1 ATLAS for total of -1
    400-500 GeV: -0.5 CMS + 1.5 ATLAS for total of 1
    500-600 GeV: -0.2 CMS + 1 ATLAS for total of 0.8

    My rough guess is that 3/fb will probably
    not show any Higgs over 260 GeV or so
    may likely show Higgs in 210-260 GeV (Vacuum Instability and VEV)
    and in 160-210 GeV (Triviality Boundary)
    will very likely show Higgs in 110-160 GeV
    (letting Standard Model run to Planck Scale)
    I hope to see 3/fb in the Golden Channel in the near future.


  8. Luboš Motl says:

    “Once again rumours are circulating that the Higgs Boson has been seen and now they are more stronger than ever.”

    Thanks for this lesson of sociology, Phil. It’s great to see how rumors are (often?) created out of thin air, including all the details. Such an insight reinforces one’s skepticism.

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      I’m not starting any rumours, just search for Higgs 144 GeV EPS rumour etc to see that this has been around the forums and blogs including yours. 🙂

      I’m just keeping it going.

    • Luboš Motl says:

      Except that my blog (about the 144 GeV bump) – and analogously others, I guess – wasn’t a link in a chain that was “spreading a rumor” started from some “insider source”. I made it very clear that it was a result of my analysis of some data. Because of this status, I

      1) expect to be credited for this possible conclusion, especially if it turns out to be right haha, because it results from my (primitive) “research”

      2) warn everyone that my statements come from someone who is not a professional experimenter, so that people shouldn’t think that I am just forwarding a conclusion made by a professional experimenter, and those who wouldn’t ever pay any attention to theorists’ amateurish manipulation with the data could completely ignore what I had to say.

      You’re clearly inventing your own interpretations but – maybe because you don’t trust the influence associated with your name, which might be just because of your unjustified lack of self-confidence – you try to spread the credit to others. That’s why you call it a “rumor”. But there’s no new rumor here. You know it very well. It’s something that started in your head.

  9. Ray Munroe says:

    Hi Philip,

    Why did the title of this post change from “Has the LHC seen the Higgs boson at 144 GeV?” to “Has the LHC seen a Higgs Boson at 135±10 GeV?”

    I was studying your viXra Unofficial LHC Higgs Combination plot from August 7, and see a possible signal between 135-150 GeV that I might call 142±8 GeV. Of course, 135 and 144 GeV both fall in this range, but what prompted the title change?

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      People have been talking about 144 GeV since EPS, but the signal is wide and consistent with 135±10 GeV if it is a single SM Higgs, so I am hedging my bets 🙂

      • Ray Munroe says:

        Hi Philip,

        It is a broad ‘peak’, and the inclusion of Tevatron data may have reduced the peak value by a couple of GeV – maybe down to 141±7 GeV (plus whatever systematic error) on your unofficial global combo plot, but I personally wouldn’t count the signal @ 125 GeV as particularly significant when compared with the signals @ higher neighboring energies. If you are hedging your bets for the SM Higgs, then 119 GeV may be a better bet, but these plots (and especially the early LHC plots) seem more complex than that.

      • Philip Gibbs says:

        I am just using the Sphicas plots to get an idea of what the signal could be consistent with, but we need more of those plots to get a better idea.

        I dont think the signal is consistent with a 119 GeV Higgs on its own. There could be one at 119 GeV and another at 144 GeV but that would be taking the details of the plot too seriously. Also, if there are two Higgs then the heavier one can decay into the lighter one and without more simulations it is very hard to say what can fit.

      • Marc Sher says:

        Phil–FYI, if there are two scalars, then the heavier can’t decay into the lighter, since they are orthogonal (in standard 2HDM terminology, there is no HhZ vertex). If one were a pseudoscalar, then that would happen, but pseudoscalars don’t couple to WW or ZZ.

      • Philip Gibbs says:

        Thanks Marc.

  10. Skeptic says:

    The LHC has a lot of ground to cover in a very little amount of time. I doubt any of the experiments will want to rush into conclusions.

    How long did it take for the Tevatron to come out with the first combination since they began taking data?

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      The Tevatron were slow because they had a lot less people, no competition and a perhaps a different policy. They have been quicker this year.

      CERN are making big outreach efforts and that includes publishing results as quickly as possible. Perhaps it is because they have funding from a lot more nations. Funding decisions are being taken all the time and are influenced by results.

      However I agree they wont rush into conclusions. They don’t need to yet. They can make a good inconclusive statement that will still be good enough to make the press.

      • Skeptic says:

        Interestingly I think that much fewer computational means and somewhat less knowledge/experience were probably what the Tevatron lacked.

        As for the press, the main message from an inconclusive combination will not be that a great giant combination with hundreds of parameters and observables can be tamed into giving a sensible result, but rather that the LHC is, well, inconclusive, and most certainly unworthy of news.

        Whoever can appreciate that the technical part can be done, will appreciate it without much regard for the contents of the result.

        And whoever wants a solid physics result will appreciate that it needs time to ripen, regardless of the amount of manpower that is thrown at it.

  11. Bob says:

    If a single Higgs is found with mass around 135 or 140 GeV its pretty bad news for future funding of particle physics, as it would suggest that the standard model is good up to high scales. This is a pretty boring scenario, but at least it would kill 20 years of crappy hep-ph papers. I suppose anthropic minded people (who think the hierarchy problem is solved by anthropics) would be feeling good right now (though anthopics is not very predictive).

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      I agree that this would be a dissapointment. It would give us no new information to understand inflation, dark matter or unification. But it is too early to wory about that. They need a few thousand /fb at 14 TeV before they can say there is no more new physics to be seen at the LHC.

      • Bob says:

        I agree, but the odds of there being new physics that LHC can discover have decreased somewhat already.

        By the way, I never thought LHC would tell us anything about inflation, as inflation operates at an extremely high scale and is very unlikely to be connected to any light fields. But I do agree that it *could* have given us insights into dark matter and possibly unification (for instance, by discovering susy and extrapolating), as well as a general picture for high energy particle physics, by discovering a whole new spectrum, and possibly learning something about baryogenesis.

      • Luboš Motl says:

        Dear Bob, as long as the luminosity of the LHC – and later, energy – keeps on growing exponentially, the probability of new discoveries per unit time is pretty much constant because old and new physics is more or less uniformly distributed on the log scale.

        Papers might have been concentrated below 1 TeV but that was because of wishful thinking, hype, and sensationalism. When we know that certain models with new matter below 1 TeV are wrong, there are still good reasons to think that there may be new particles below a few TeV, and so on.

        The LHC is not at the end of its skills yet. Far from it.

  12. […] on Higgs identification are well alive yet ( you can see here). take a look and […]

  13. Do I understand correctly that the Tevatron people are claiming to exclude any standard Higgs boson between 124 GeV and 286 GeV?

    See: http://arxiv.org/abs/1108.3331

    Fractal Cosmology

  14. JollyJoker says:

    http://atlas.ch/blog/ says they’ll present results with >2/fb for Atlas alone at Lepton-Photon. So we’ll have double the data for each experiment in addition to the combined data with 1/fb each.

    Time to hone your “unofficial combination” skills 😉

    • Bill K says:

      I say it’s time to stop playing silly games, and leave the data analysis to the experts.

      • Jin He says:

        I say it’s time to stop playing ‘scientific’ politics, and leave the various possibilitys to be choosen by the general public.

    • Skeptic says:

      Wrong: the post says that by Monday there will be more than double the data. Not that double the data will be shown.

      • JollyJoker says:

        “Presentations will focus on the outcome of vigorous and detailed searches for the Higgs boson, supersymmetry, and a variety of other rare and exciting phenomena, in more than two inverse femtobarns of data – equivalent to about 140 million million proton collisions – collected by the ATLAS experiment in 2010 and 2011.”

        The outcome of searches in more than 2/fb collected by Atlas.

      • Skeptic says:

        Point taken.

        I looked at the most recent entry that mentioned: “the hard-working ATLAS data analysts will have had more than twice that amount to look at by the start of the Lepton Photon conference next week.”

        ATLAS achieved 2/fb recorded by the beginning of August and that does not take into account data quality checks.

        Monday we’ll see. The more data, the better for Physics!

    • Skeptic says:

      Jin He: “it’s time to stop playing ‘scientific’ politics, and leave the various possibilitys to be choosen by the general public”.

      Seriously? Science is democratic only inasmuch as different people testing the same hypotheses should reach the came conclusions. Science is not democratic – on the contrary, the best science, that one worthy of Nobel prizes, tends to be rather absolute – in what regards results.

      So, if the general public wants to “choose” they had better join the ranks of those co-opting answers from Nature.

  15. Dilaton says:

    Phil`s great work here is NOT “silly games” !!!

    Nobody who does not like it is forced to read these posts on this blog !

    So, I look forward to see Phil continuing his efforts next week (if he likes to) 🙂

    (Have to calm down now 😛 …)

    • paolo says:

      oh dear,
      don’t You remember feeling like that for example
      1) before EPS or
      2) before 1fb-1 beeing gathered by ATLAS/CMS
      3) just after consecutive milestones beeing achived by LHC
      4) seeing previous Phil’s plots
      5) reading about most important day in physiscs history for 30years or so
      6)reading about another most important day in physiscs history for 30years or so

      in case You missed those all that was a misunderstanding, disappointment with null connection to physics. You may ask what or what for was that then , imo it was and unfortunatelly still is some kind of science propaganda.
      i can imagine it is important to draw public attention, keep public interest in hep at some level, influence donators and science patrons funding but in any case it is science itself.
      One can appreciate Phil’s efforts, i admire his work, but one can not confuse it with science.
      science is to be done by experts.

    • Luboš Motl says:

      Dear Paolo, Bill, etc.,

      you overwhelm us by bizarre sentences such as “science is to be done by experts”.

      However, you got the definition of science upside down. In the words of Feynman,


      “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” I have found his point very critical at many points, too. Indeed, it’s plausible that other people may want to be careful while using this principle. 😉

      What you’re promoting is not science – it’s fascism, with some irrational worshiping of predetermined “authorities”. This has nothing to do with science as we knew it in the last 400 years or so, since Galileo etc.

      Phil may be missing some points and some of his steps may be less reliable than if done by someone else, but this is true to one extent or another for any other human being, too.

      It’s not clear to me what’s your point of visiting this blog if your judgment about the content of this website is so poor. What Phil is doing is considered relevant by many others and it’s not harmful because within weeks or months, all errors he may have done are identified and fixed, perhaps by more reliable places.

      Also, you’re completely wrong that Phil’s expectation of a major Higgs discovery behind the corner is an artifact of his ignorance. When it comes to this question, his expectation is totally aligned with most of the people whom you would – hopefully – call experts as well.

      So please calm down. What Phil is doing may be amateurish, but it is essentially scientific research. What you are defending is not scientific research but fascism, censorship, bullying, and intimidation, and if you were posting similar tirades on my blog, I would have banned you a long time ago already – which is what I recommend Phil to do, too.

      Thanks for your understanding

      • JollyJoker says:

        Hypothetically, if both Atlas and CMS have 3.5 to 4 sigma evidence of a Higgs and Phil is the first to post a combined plot with >5 sigma and announce a discovery, would you consider the Higgs discovered or not?

        I guess it’s meaningless semantics; we would consider it discovered even before seeing the combined plot and consider the eventual announcement by the LHC collaborations the official confirmation regardless.

      • Alex says:

        This time I agree wholeheartedly with you, but you’re quoting Feynman after all 😉
        Either some people just aren’t curious and miss the slightly subversive nature of science completely, or they are in a collaboration themselves and see their esoteric art tainted by others’ efforts. How can you be a scientist and never feel the urge to try and arrogantly question and rethink the work of “experts” in all kinds of fields, just for the heck of it.

      • kevin says:

        It might be the only citation of Feynman that agrees with your thinking. I think that lack of logic is fascism. And your posts are full of logical mistakes. It is an awful situation because one has to be logic to detect logical mistakes.

      • Alex says:

        what are you talking about, kevin?

      • Luboš Motl says:

        Dear JollyJoker, if the task will be to merge two 3.5-sigma signals into one 5-sigma signals, I can do it as well and don’t need Phil 😉 although I will still be curious what he will say. Well, I may try to get ahead of him again in other cases, too.

        I will personally consider the existence of the Higgs in a mass interval settled only if its mass is known plus minus 2 GeV or so. (The width of a light Higgs is well below 1 GeV.) Some 5-sigma excesses in a broader interval etc. can mean many other things once you realize that the Standard Model is not necessarily the full story and there are increasing experimental hints that it’s not. In MSSM or any other model, the cross sections for Higgses are different than the SM cross sections for one Higgs and there may be other particles etc. There’s a lot of potential for premature conclusions.

        Thanks, Alex! Exactly, curiosity and independence are a basic instinct of a scientific mind. And I don’t know how someone with a scientific mind could try to fight against their existence inside the minds of others – even in minds of others that make mistakes.

        Dear Kevin, the lack of logic isn’t fascism: the lack of logic is irrationality. Fascism is something completely different and has something to do with power in a whole nation, not with logic. So I guess this mistake in your reasoning probably invalidates the rest of your comment, too.


      • Ulla says:

        Sour, sour, Lubos ! Ye, a competition of the best blogs would be nice. Maybe people like me would learn something too? Good suggestion. But then it should NOT be so SUBJECTIVE, because that is long from science.

        Scaling or not? Weak or strong? Light or heavy? Maybe the 144 ‘bump’ is only a shadow, and the real Higgs, if he is, is much heavier? I have seen very few pictures of really heavy particles. Why? Franca has a model, also with a massgap (dual quasiparticle).

        There is something wrongly thought with the Mexican Hat and potential virtuals? The natural thing would be a dual Higgs?

      • Luboš Motl says:

        Dear Ulla, if you want to compete for having the best blog, the best theory, or best anything else that requires some brains, it’s easy. Just wait until the green extraterrestrial alien exterminate the rest of the mankind, as announced in the Guardian yesterday. 😉

      • Ulla says:

        Oh, no, Lubos, you misunderstood. I thought the competition was between you and Phil. I have absolutely no qualities to take part. I just educate myself through you all. You are my teachers.

        If we must wait for Aliens or Higgses, I really don’t know who comes sooner. Maybe you are right, and it is the Aliens?

      • Ulla says:

        But then I forgot – you cannot take part in the competition, because you have no theory of your own. So we must leave the whole thing to Phil, after all. Nice suggestion, though.

  16. Jin He says:

    Oh, Dear Paolo and Asociates,

    Currently, according to experts (dictators?), mirco-physics is done (Standard Model); macro-physics is done (Big Bang), middle-physics is done (Holliwood Super-stars).

    In the past, according to experts (dictators), mirco-physics was done (Newton Dynamic Orbits); macro-physics was done (Epi-Circles over epi-centres), middle-physics was done (Kings and Queens).

    How do those “dictator experts” survive? The answer is the money which flows to their pockets from the technological advances which are made by very very few real experts like Copernicus, Newton, Galileo, Planck, etc..

    Unfortunately, I (Jin He) has discovered that humans are organic lives. The technologic advances so far are far enough for the organic lives of mankind to survive. The slaves do not appreciate IPhones, IPads, ITunes, etc. In the future, how can those dictator experts survive anymore?? I am greatly concerned of their money resources for them to order their Dapper Suits for Nobel Ceremony in their day-dreams.

    I am greatly concerned! Today’s WallStreet stock-Markets tell all the stories.

    The Nobel Prize ceremony will have to be played inside India’s slums!

  17. If the past is the best predictor of the future, then the new mystery bump will go the way of all past mystery bumps. We should have some indication of the way things are going to play out by Sunday night, or earlier if rumors leak out.

    And speaking of long series of false-positives:

    Fermi-LAT Collaboration: No WIMPs (see arxiv.org 8/17/11)
    Super-Kamiokande Collaboration: No WIMPS (see arxiv.org 8/17/11).

  18. Alejandro Rivero says:

    The practice of calling “null result” or “background” to the “higgless standard model prediction” is confusing. It is not a bunch of particles coming to the detectors from elsewhere outside the CERN, it is the actual production of the LHC collider.

    • Ok, so we could put it as follows.

      Is it possible that the expected signal in the 120-160 GeV range has been underestimated? Alternatively, could the observed excess shrink in larger data samples? If so, then there might be no statistically significant evidence for anything.

      We will know in a couple of days

  19. JollyJoker says:

    “The rumor is that the combinations of different channels within single experiments will be shown at 1.5 fb-1 (but no ATLAS + CMS combinations) and that unfortunately the hint at 140 GeV XXXXXXXXXXXX, partly because the background XXXXXXXXXX.”


    So the bump is gone or weakened? This would mean that a large part of the remaining mass window is excluded for an SM Higgs, perhaps nearly all of it at two sigma?

  20. carla says:

    Phil’s very quiet over these past few days. Either he’s on holiday or preparing himself for the Higgs results opening Lepton-Photon 2011

    it’s gonna be quite a day…

  21. For those who have been predicting all along that the LHC would find:

    No string/brane exotica,
    No sparticles,
    No SUSY,
    No WIMPS,
    No extra-dimensions,
    No mini-black holes,
    No Randall-Sundrum gravitons,
    No greased pig Higgsy,
    Nothing beyond the pre-LHC standard model,

    it certainly could be quite a day, indeed, robustly, landscapeably so.

    Note that we will not be booking spots on the Colbert Report, or going to fancy conferences to share fantasies. No, we will be studying nature and doing our best to ignore the hyped pseudo-science that dominated particle physics for decades.

    Discrete Fractal Cosmology

  22. Fred says:

    For those who have been predicting all along that the LHC would find:

    No Discrete Fractal Cosmology,

    it certainly could be quite day, robustly, landscapeably so.

  23. Fred says:

    The Higgs has been found with a mass of 5*10^24 GeV

    (I am very funny, I know, thank you)

  24. We are in the midst of a revolution in physics, like it or not.

    Feel free to deny that if you have banked your whole career on the old paradigm.

    However, the fact is that the old paradigm can no longer predict much of anything. It is lost in the cosmos without a reliable theoretical principle to guide it.

    The new paradigm, on the other hand, has definitively predicted what the galactic dark matter is composed of. This was published in 1987, in the Astrophysical Journal, vol. 322, pp 34-36.

    One component of the definitively predicted dark matter was a huge population of unbound planetary-mass objects that would be found throughout the Galaxy.

    Guess what was reported in Nature in May 2011 by Sumi et al. Hundreds of billions of unbound planetary-mass objects roaming free in the Galaxy. Compare that with the 40-year dismal failure of the WIMP “scenario”.

    If you give a fair hearing to Mike Hawkins excellent preprint (arxiv.org) entitled “The case for primordial black holes as dark matter”, you might begin to see the dark matter in a new way.

    General relativity needs a new symmetry principle added to it, and that new principle is discrete conformal invariance, aka discrete scale invariance or discrete cosmological self-similarity.

    When general relativity is recast in this new form you get a discrete fractal model for nature. It predicted pulsar-planets before they were discovered. It can explain the fine structure constant and why the conventional Planck mass is such an abomination.

    Cheers, and welcome to the future.
    Discrete Scale Relativity

  25. Fred says:

    Wow, thank you for proving that the “Planck mass is an abomination”. Good luck convincing people that you are not a crackpot with catch phrases like that.

  26. I will let nature speak for the new paradigm, since nature is so much more eloquent and convincing.

    However, I cannot resist pointing out that calling anyone who questions your assumptions a “crackpot” is a common technique these days and a rather shabby one. We shall see who understands nature and who has lost their way.

    Planck mass = 1.20 x 10^-24 g (min. mass for horizon)

  27. Fred says:

    Step 1: Open a browser to google
    Step 2: Type in “Planck mass”
    Step 3: Click first link to wikipedia’s entry
    Step 4: Read first line of webpage
    Step 5: Learn that Planck mass = 2.176 x 10^-5 g
    Step 6: Realize that you are wrong by 19 orders of magnitude

    Congratulations! 6 seconds of effort and you discover that your model is rubbish. Now you can spend your time doing something else. Have fun!

  28. I hate to break it to you but in different paradigms you can get different Planck masses.

    I obviously know what the conventional Planck mass is, and how it is calculated. Is there anything in nature that corresponds to this bizarre mass? Pray tell what!

    I doubt that you have learned how I get my far more natural value.

    You could look at …arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0701006 which would explain why my value is correct and your value is wrong by 10^19.

    But I fear you could not allow yourself to think that I might be right.

    That’s ok, others might be more receptive to radical new ideas.

    I am not interested in further polemics. If you want to talk science,let me know.

    Fractal Cosmology

  29. Fred says:

    Step 1: Open a browser to google
    Step 2: Type in “quantum mechanics”
    Step 3: Click first link to wikipedia’s entry
    Step 4: Read overwhelming evidence for quantum mechanics
    Step 5: Open another browser to google
    Step 6: Type in “general relativity”
    Step 7: Click first link to wikipedia’s entry
    Step 8: Read overwhelming evidence for general relativity
    Step 9: Realize that the scale of quantum gravity is the Planck scale

    Congratulations! 9 seconds of effort and you discover how the most fundamental pieces of nature (quantum mechanics and general relativity) correspond to this mass. Have fun!

  30. Discrete Scale Relativity does not fundamentally conflict with GR or QM. To the contrary, it is the one decent idea that has a chance to unify them.

    Do you get all your physics knowledge from Wikipedia?

    Here is a simple question, asked without guile. Has the gravitational coupling factor inside an atom, or inside a subatomic particle, ever been measured? It is important to know the scientific answer to this question. What is your answer?

    Discrete Fractal Cosmology

    • Ray Munroe says:

      Dear Fred and RLO,

      It is a shame that I missed this exchange last week.

      Quite simply, Fred is correct, and RLO lives in a self-similar alternate reality.

      RLO – This factor of 10^19 that you two are discussing is EXTREMELY important. This is the root of the Hierarchy Problem (a Scale Problem). The Hierarchy Problem says that radiative corrections should not allow a stable Weak Scale mass AND a stable Planck Scale mass. The natural solution is Supersymmetry, and I would thus claim that Scales (Fractals) and SUSY are compatible.

      Your criticism against Laurent Nottale’s four scales is duly noted. I would tend to agree that self-similarity implies an infinitude of scales. I can think of two ways in which Nottale might be correct: 1) four scales – sub quantum (hyperspace), quantum, classical, super-classical (multiverse) – may be an excellent approximate solution, or 2) a modulo arithmatic may be in effect, such as Higgs=spin-0, Fermion=spin-1/2, Photon=spin-1, Gravitino=spin-3/2, Graviton=spin-2~spin-0=Higgs.

      Regardless – No one will take your complaints against Nottale’s theory seriously when you make outrageously incorrect claims about the Planck mass. If you are going to define something different (and 19 orders of magnitide IS different) then you should call it the Oldershaw mass (or the amu).

      Have Fun!

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