The announcement of new Higgs results from the LHC is now scheduled for about a month and a half from now, July 7th, 9:30 and 10am Melbourne time, at ICHEP2012. The LHC is performing well, with nearly 2.5 fb-1 of integrated luminosity/experiment. With only 2-3 weeks more of data collection before the cutoff for what can be analyzed in time to be made public July 7, one can expect the July announcements to be based on perhaps 4-5 fb-1 per experiment. Rough estimates show that, combining last year’s 5 fb-1 at 7 TeV and this year’s expected data, if the SM Higgs really is there at 125 GeV, each experiment should see a signal of 4 sigma significance. This is not quite the 5 sigma significance traditionally set for a discovery claim, but very close.
It thus looks possible that a discovery claim will require combining the results from CMS and ATLAS. The LHC Higgs Combination Group has been hard at work for the last couple years, developing methods for combining results from the two experiments. This time, they will be ready to quickly combine all the data from the two experiments, and maybe this will be what gives the 5 sigma needed for CERN to claim discovery. I don’t know what the plan is for when they will be provided with the CMS/ATLAS data, or when they plan to announce a result.
The LHC-HCG is competing with Philip Gibbs, who today released a Higgs Combination Java Applet which allows anyone to produce their own data combinations. If the LHC-HCG can’t produce a combination by 10:30am July 7, CERN should perhaps consider getting Philip’s applet properly set up and having DG Heuer publicly press the right button, allowing CERN to claim the Higgs discovery before Philip does.