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I’ll Take That Bet September 10, 2006

Posted by gordonwatts in physics, physics life.

Over at A Quantum Diaries Survivor Tommaso opines:

Ok, I think I have been in the HEP community long enough to experience the boredom of a unending string of Standard Model successes and the systematic killing of 3-sigma inconsistencies.

in his This 1000$ says there ain’t new physics at the TeV scale post. He is currently at a conference and the experimental results are depressingly in agreement with the Standard Model:

Indeed, I think the overall picture gets more bleak by the day. Today, I learned that there is such a tremendous amount of self-consistency in the SM results that enter the determination of the unitarity triangle (see a previous post below), that non-SM processes modifying observables determined at 1+ loop level are really going to be tough to design, since they either must not violate CP at a detectable level,or they get automatically ruled out before they are even conceived.

So, what to do?

So, while I am not rich, I think I have 1,000 US dollars that I can invest in a bet. Here is my challenge:

So, I’m not rich either. But hey — what is the point of being in this business if we think will never measure more than the Standard Model? Exactly. Not so much. So, I’m even less rich, so I’m in for $250 to charity (plus modified terms to insulate ourselves from poor machine performance and concentrate on what we both want: new physics). Tommaso found another taker for the other $750: Jack Distler, a theorist (cool, he is from my undergraduate institution, UT Austin).

The bet: 1 year after both CMS and ATLAS get 10 fb-1 of data there won’t be a 5 sigma result attributable to non-Standard-Model physics. If that is the case, I pay Tommaso $250, which he donates to a charity of his choice. If there is new physics, then Tomasso will donate $250 to a charity of my choice.

I’m guessing it will be around 2010 when that happens. As Tommaso points out, conflicts of interest aside, both of us would be more than happy to pay anyone $1000 bucks if that is all it took to find a non-Standard Model particle.

If anyone wants to know why I’m willing to bet. I know something is out there! And if it is out there, it needs to be down here too!



1. Guess Who - September 10, 2006

What if “something” is just 2 eV neutrinos?


2. Gordon Watts - September 11, 2006

If they are 1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation neutrinos (i.e. standard model) he wins. Otherwise, I win. BTW, one thing I really like about that paper is they talk about explicity falsifying the experiment. 😉 KATRIN has people here at UW working on it, btw.

Note they have to modify newtonian gravity in order to make the 2 eV guys work. Since gravity isn’t in the SM… 😉 Hey — does the discovery of gravity mean I win the bet? 😉 Also, note that in this paper they bring up a few issues that need to be resolved before their fit can be said to be viable.

Whatever, contrary to the Chinese curse, these should be interesting times and I’m darn glad to be living in them!

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