Coming soon: A cube of Higgs Combinations

Tomorrow CERN will announce an important update on their search for the Higgs Boson at the LHC (in case you have just got back from another planet) Expectations are high with some news reports saying they will reach the critical 5 sigma discovery level. Peter Higgs himself has flown over to CERN where he has joined other physicists responsible for the theoretical breakthrough back in 1964 that predicted the Higgs Boson. Sources from within CERN point out that final results will not be ready until today so all prior reports of a discovery can be no more than speculation, we will se tomorrow.

What we do know is that the two experiments that have been searching for the Higgs, CMS and ATLAS will each provide updates including data collected this year at 8 TeV. This could be combined with the results from last years 7 TeV run that were published at the last big update in December. We know that they will not attempt to combine the CMS and ATLAS data together because they have stated that they are now aiming for independent discoveries from the two detectors. Whether they can reach that important 5-sigma level will depend on how much data they can prepare in time. The amount of data available is 6/fb to be compared with the 5/fb from last year. The higher energy gives another 15% advantage in the crucial diphoton channel where the Higgs is seen most clearly.

If they can get that data together it adds up to a signal about 55% stronger than last year when they each had about 3 sigma in the diphoton channel, so this year we might expect at least 4.5 sigma, but it is not that simple. Last years signal was stringer than expected. If that was a statistical fluke for both experiments then it should be weaker this year bringing expectations down to more like 4 sigma. On the other hand if the enhancement was due to real physics it will still be there and they may even be lucky with the random quantum fluctuations and get nearer 5 sigma.

There is one last thing they can do to improve the signal. They can combine information from another channel such as the decay of the Higgs to 4 leptons. Last year this did not provide much help and only added about 0.2 sigma, but with higher energies it may just be a little better, perhaps enough to take them over the finish line. In the end it will be the luck of the fluctuations that counts. They have two experiments so two tosses of te coins. One may make it while the other falls short.

Of course the next set of data due out in September will certainly finish the game for both of them but nobody wants to wait for that after all the build-up. If neither experiment makes it individually they will be close enough to say that the combination of the two certainly adds up to an unofficial discovery, even if they do not do that combination immediately, Which ever way you look at it they will be able to spin the conclusion to provide the media with the result they are waiting for.

And if they don’t? Here is a ray of hope from an AP report

Scientists with access to the new CERN data say it shows with a high degree of certainty that the Higgs boson may already have been glimpsed, and that by unofficially combining the separate results from ATLAS and CMS it can be argued that a discovery is near. Ellis says at least one physicist-blogger has done just that in a credible way.”

That physicist-blogger is of course yours truly. As usual I will be carrying out the full cube of combinations using my unofficial methods as soon as the plots are available. The viXra combination applet has already been updated with yesterday’s new data from the Tevatron. The results will be a little approximate and certainly not endorsed by CERN, but unofficial discovery is at least guaranteed or your money back.

14 Responses to Coming soon: A cube of Higgs Combinations

  1. Vojta says:

    Can’t wait, can¨t wait, CAN’T WAIT!

    Anyways thanks for the combinations in advance, it will be truly historical milestone:). You may be the first one in this galaxy who will “see a proof” of Higgs boson :). And we readers of your blog will be the second:)

  2. Peter Woit says:

    Hi Philip (aka The Rebel, see,

    I’ll be in New York asleep, hoping to wake up to your combinations. In addition to the overall discovery number, the other CMS/ATLAS combination which CERN won’t do but which we’d all like to see is combined numbers for cross-section x branching ratio for gamma-gamma, ZZ->4l, and WW. Thanks for the huge public service you’re providing here!

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      Watch what you say Mr Gossip 🙂 Of course the combinations you want will all be available with the applet but I dont think we will see WW tomorrow, certainly not from ATLAS anyway.

  3. Hi Philip,

    there is another reason why one can expect improvement over last year, if a signal is present: the experimenters have worked hard and intelligently since December and improved their analyses significantly. Details tomorrow… er, tonight!


  4. Nessuno says:

    With Peter there, they can say they have really found at least a Higgs (if he remembers to bring his id card, to proof he is really a Higgs)

  5. […] als wat in 2011 werd gemeten. We wachten het rustig af, eh… hoop ik. Bron: Nature News + ViXra. Noot:Nobelprijs-winnaar Leon Lederman was de eerste die deze term hanteerde, in een boek uit 1993. […]

  6. vampy says:

    Congratulations for your hard work Philip, and everyone that contribute to this blog.

  7. We are all thankful to Philip Gibbs who has kept us informed on vixra blog.

    Philosophical origins of the concept may lie in enterpertation on Einstein equation Energy = mass X square of speed of light. In this equation on existence of energy with mass – the characteristic of matter – conservation, gravitation & inertia can be attributed to a single or multiple realities.

    It is multiple realities, than Higgs Bosons have a meaning as one of many possible fundamental particles in nature. If not, then all mass particles are composed of single reality – Energy.

  8. Tony Smith says:

    If the low WW holds up in the June 2012 data,
    does that mean that the 125 GeV thing is not a simple single SM Higgs
    that if it to be interpreted as a Higgs it must be a variety of Higgs that has low WW ?

    If the Higgs is seen as a low-WW variant
    does that mean that such a Higgs at any mass (including values not at 125 GeV) would have low WW ?

    If the WW channel is used significantly to exclude Higgs in a wide range of values
    is that exclusion based on WW being low throughout that wide range ?

    If all the above answers are YES, then does it follow that
    the widely quoted 95 percent CL Higgs exclusion ranges may be invalid
    because WW just does not at all see the low-WW variant Higgs ?


  9. amarashiki says:

    IF the only signal is YET in the diphoton mode…AND IF there is New Physics enhancement in action…Perhaps, I wish, tomorrow will be the first great day in HEP during the 21st century…But, let me remark that, IN ANY CASE, work is ahead of us in the next months to answer: is it the SM Higgs? Probably not, but then…What could it be? A technipion? A technidilaton? A Wino? Some other exotics? Why, if any, are the other channels “absent”? Tomorrow AND don’t forget the important and decisive ICHEP in Australia will answer some of this puzzling and hard questions!
    I agree, tomorrow we have to be watching one of the most important conferences in decades! Best regards…

  10. cormac says:

    Very helpful, many thanks. Micheal, it’s be great to hear a little more about the improvements in analysis..

  11. […] versehentlich vom CERN veröffentlicht worden. Weitere mehr oder weniger atemlose Artikel hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier und hier – und es […]

  12. wl59 says:

    W.r.t. any gammagamma results, we’ll have now to observe, if at the side of peaks still are visible valleys/deficits, like it was the case with the 2011 data. If so, then this would indicate that (,by what reason ever,) only background photons are frequence/higgs-mass -shifted but no (or less) additional photons produced as we’ld have to expect if Higgs exist; this also would explain the ‘paradox’ that/if fewer WW are produced than to expect for any Higgs and for in turn produce additional photons.

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