High Drama

It’s exactly a month until new LHC Higgs results are to be unveiled at ICHEP. The machine has been running well, and right about now should be the cut-off time after which new data will arrive too late for analysis before ICHEP. So the integrated luminosity available for each experiment to analyze will be about 4.5 inverse femtobarns. See Tommaso Dorigo for an explanation of what this means. Very roughly, if the Higgs is there with a mass around 125 GeV, each experiment should see tentative signal similar to last year’s, with the combination of data from both years and both experiments likely reaching the 5 sigma standard necessary to declare discovery. If no signal similar to last year’s is seen, this will seriously re-open the possibility of no Higgs (or a very different Higgs than the SM one). Either way, should be very exciting.

For the other story people are following, the death of SUSY, see Nima Arkani-Hamed’s recent talk. He lists as “High Drama for 2012” not just the Higgs, but also SUSY results on stops, gluinos and multileptons. Here I think most people have given up hope that evidence for SUSY will be found, so the high drama is the human one of how SUSY advocates will react as remaining possible SUSY hiding places are mopped up. The conference was in honor of Savas Dimopoulos, who has been working on SUSY models for more than 30 years, so Arkani-Hamed’s talk didn’t even acknowledge the possibility of no SUSY. He described the 2 alternatives available to physics as “natural SUSY”, which is just about ruled out, and various versions of “split supersymmetry”, where superpartner masses can be pushed arbitrarily high, out of the reach of the LHC or any conceivable experiment. He didn’t mention the version one commenter here recently brought up, “super-split supersymmetry”, which was an April Fool’s joke, but may be the direction the field is headed.

Tommaso notes that the new data has been blinded by the experiments, meaning that even those working with it don’t know anything about what the final result will be until the last stage of the analysis. Whenever that might be, I’m hoping reliable rumors will soon ensue.

I’m heading out on vacation tomorrow, to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, out of reach of the internet until about June 18th. During this time I’ll have to shut off comments here. So, hold your reliable rumors until I get back….

Update: Seems that some of these reliable rumors just won’t wait. Whatever Tommaso says about CMS blinding its data, either that’s not the case at ATLAS, or some of it is now unblinded. I hear that the first chunk of gamma-gamma data is showing some signs (2 sigma) of a signal at about the same place as last year’s data. Analysis of more data is proceeding, and very soon people at ATLAS will know whether there’s a signal there. High drama….

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4 Responses to High Drama

  1. King Ray says:

    Peter, have a great and well-deserved vacation!

    One thing that occurred to me that others may find funny, in the nature of lolcat jokes:

    ICHEP = “I Can Haz Extra Particles?”

  2. Shantanu says:

    Peter or anyone, any exciting news from CIPANP 2012?
    Unfortunately I don’t see any slides yet from it.

  3. Peter Woit says:


    At least as far as LHC results go, the likelihood is that we’ve already seen whatever is really exciting about the 2011 data, and the earliest results from 2012 data are targeted for ICHEP. So, I’d be surprised if there’s any big news from the LHC at any conference before ICHEP next month.

  4. Is it realistic to expect that the “discovery announcement” will be made half-way around the world in Oz. Surely CERN will want a tightly-orchestrated press event in Geneva?


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