Thursday, March 14, 2019

Particle physicists excited over discovery of nothing in particular

Logo of Moriond meeting.
“Rencontres de Moriond” is one of the most important annual conferences in particle physics. This year’s meeting will start in two days, on March 16th. Usually, experimental collaborations try to have at least preliminary results to present at the conference, so we have an interesting couple of weeks ahead.

The collaboration of the ATLAS experiment at CERN has already released a few results from the searches for “exotic” particles with last year’s run 2 data. So far, they have seen nothing new. More results will likely appear online soon. 

One of the key questions to be addressed by the new data analysis is whether the “lepton flavor anomalies” persist. These anomalies are several small differences between rates of processes that, according to the standard model, should be identical. Separately, each deviation from the standard model has a low statistical significance, not exceeding 3 σ. However, in 2017 a group of particle physicists claimed that the combined significance exceeds 5 σ.

You should take such combined analyses with several grains of salt. Choosing some parts of the data while disregarding others makes the conclusion unreliable. This does not mean the result is wrong, just that it’s impossible to know if it is a real effect or a statistical fluctuation. Really this question can only be resolved with more data. CMS, another one of the LHC experiments, recently tested a specific explanation for the anomaly but found nothing.

Meanwhile it must have dawned on particle physicists that the non-discovery of fundamentally new particles besides the Higgs is a problem for their field, and especially for the prospects of financing that bigger collider which they want. For two decades they told the public that the LHC would help answering some “big questions,” for example by finding dark matter or supersymmetric particles, illustrated well by this LHC outreach website:


Screenshot of the LHC Outreach website.


However, the predictions for new particles besides the Higgs were all wrong. And now, rather than owning up to their mistakes, particle physicists want you to think it’s exciting they have found neither dark matter, nor extra dimensions, nor supersymmetry, nor anything else that is not in the standard model. In a recent online article at Scientific American, James Beacham is quoted saying:
“We’re right on the cusp of a revolution but we don’t really know where that revolution is going to be coming from. It’s so exciting and enticing. I would argue there’s never been a better time to be a particle physicist.”
The particle physicist Jon Butterworth says likewise:
“It’s more exciting and more uncertain now than I think it’s ever been in my career.”
And Nima Arkani-Hamed, in an interview with the CERN Courier begins his answer to the question “How do you view the status of particle physics?” with:
“There has never been a better time to be a physicist.”
The logic here seems to be this: First, mass-produce empty predictions to raise the impression that a costly experiment will answer some big questions. Then, if the experiment fails to answer those questions, proclaim how exciting it is that your predictions were wrong. Finally, explain that you need money for a larger experiment to answer those big questions.

The most remarkable thing about this is that they actually seem to think this will work.

Needless to say, if the analysis of the recent data reveals a signal of new effects, then the next collider will be built for sure. If nothing new shows up, then particle physicists can either continue to excitedly deny anything went wrong, or realize they have to act against hype and group-think in their community. The next weeks will be interesting.

83 comments:

  1. I believe it's hard for anyone on the inside of a tribe to see the limitations of their own thinking. One has to step outside of the protection ring of orthodoxy -- and too few have the courage to do that. Compliments on your efforts to encourage more to do so.

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  2. The situation
    calls for some Piltdownium Particle,
    (or N-Particle if You prefer), problem
    is that too many people are involved
    in the big collaborations.
    In that glorious days of single geniuses
    things were much easier.

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  3. Following on the rationale, the next two weeks may in fact be the most interesting and exciting in history

    ReplyDelete
  4. At the risk of ending down the street's corner with your guitar for a penny of course! Then again...
    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/take_care_of_the_pennies_and_the_pounds_will_take_care_of_themselves

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your title reads like something from the Onion or Andy Borowitz :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Minor stuff; no need at all to approve this comment.

    On "grains of sand"; the idiom is to take something with a grain of salt; meaning not too seriously.

    The other idiom is not "owing up to" but "owning up to one's mistake", i.e. being honest about it, regardless of consequences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for pointing out. I caught the first, but missed the second. Fixed it now!

      Delete
  7. "Sometimes when your tool is a hammer all problems look like a nail"

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  8. "“Rencontres de Moriond” is one of the most important annual conferences in particle physics."

    There are several "Rencontres de Moriond" conferences, including several devoted to particle physics. I've only attended the ones on Cosmology, though there is always a joint session with the QCD conference going on at the same time.

    The Moriond conferences are my favourite conferences. Not only does everyone sleep and eat in the same hotel, making it easy to meet new people, but there are often two conferences at the same time, allowing one to meet people one otherwise would not. The organization is superb, with the hotel reservation being made by the organizers. I usually drive down, but if one arrives in Geneva (by plane, train, automobile, or, presumably, boat or horse), then one can take one of the conference buses to the remote Alpine village where the conference is held. There are about 4 hours in the afternoon for skiing. (It's not that there is less conference than usual: the morning and evening sessions together are probably more than the normal amount of talks at a conference, and it is six full days (Sunday--Friday, with a morning session on Saturday as well) instead of the usual 5.

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    1. I've been to the same conference more than once and... I really enjoyed skying. After many years of different experiences outside particle physics I find it incorrect to have a scientific conference where people paid by taxpayers mix their work with a skiing week and go to the conference in skiing boots ... Taxpayers, I apologise.

      Delete
  9. Bee, will you keep us posted re: latest results from Rencontres de Moriond 2019?

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  10. CERN's funding is relatively consistent and not as subject to fickle political considerations that affect the budgets of many other organizations (NASA). CERN can and will build a bigger accelerator and they will have the money. It's just a matter of how much special contributions they will receive to reduce the time frame. The funding arrangement is why the LHC was able to be built in the first place. (as far as I understand it)

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    Replies
    1. Titus,

      I've been told (by various particle physicists) that the FCC-hh cannot be built on the CERN budget but will require additional funding. Please correct me if this is wrong (it seems plausible but I haven't found a good source). Also, to say the obvious, CERN will not receive the same annual budget from each member state until the end of time.

      Delete
  11. I somehow read the conference title as "raconteurs of a moribund" field.

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Even though there may not be new particles there may nevertheless be new physics requiring new research techniques where accelerators would continue to play a role. Actually I am confident that no one knows how exactly these new high energy physics will be like. However they do exist. We should not be surprised that we may have to probe the near ultimate.

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  14. With 3σ I would say the statistics are not conclusive, but at 3σ you start to pay some attention. Deviations in flavor transformations in weak interactions, Quantum Flavor Dynamics (QFD), are certainly what might happen if there are deviations from standard model.

    The Higgs field and particle are featureless scalar fields, or components of the Higgs doublet. As I see it there is a sort of 2001 Space Odyssey monolith in the Higgs field.

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  15. "For two decades they told the public that the LHC would help answering some “big questions,” for example by finding dark matter or supersymmetric particles, "

    More lies from Dr. Hossenfelder!... the screen shot doesn't say "we will find"... but a very much scientifically-minded "The results from the LHC MIGHT shed light on".

    For more lies stay tuned!... Sabine is very prolific, one new HEP-smearing blog/day, on average.

    Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roberto,

      Well, wow, now you fabricate statements while quoting documentation that proves you have fabricated them.

      I did demonstrably not claim the website states they "will find" those particles.

      The only one who is lying here is you. Let me remind our readers that you previously claimed that the FCC would "study and discover the origin of the universe." In best particle physics manner, you never corrected this nonsense but seem to hope that we just forget about it.

      Delete
    2. Well, now you can't read! I never said you said that, I simply put in quote "will find" vs "might find".

      The mirror you are climbing is almost over. Good luck.

      P.S.: did you write your funding proposal to submit to the EU in order to share some of the big bucks that they offer? Hurry up, Sabine, do something positive... build something, instead of only working to bring down and destroy stuff.

      Delete
    3. "Let me remind our readers that you previously claimed that the FCC would "study and discover the origin of the universe." In best particle physics manner, you never corrected this nonsense but seem to hope that we just forget about it."

      Nonsense. I simply said that the studies which are planned to be done by the different FCC machines (ep,hh,ep, plus ions) would certainly explain in a better way why our universe is the way it is. I said that there are plenty of mathematical formulations and support behind this, which you denied.
      Other commenters here, like Fx, have articulated in a better way the same point I made earlier... but you still don't get it.
      I don't want anybody to forget anything which is written on this blog, not at all!... contrary to you I have nothing to hide... no personal gain to make, just love for science.
      Keep up with the good lies, Sabine! :-)

      Delete
    4. Roberto,

      You wrote on 3:33 AM, December 19, 2018 that the FCC report is "full of interesting things to study and discover."

      Everyone can check that this is correct here.

      In response to this, I asked

      "Interesting things, like the origin of the universe?"

      To which you responded:

      "Yes, one of the many things."

      Again, everyone can check that this is correct here.

      Now you say

      "I simply said that the studies which are planned [...] would certainly explain in a better way why our universe is the way it is."

      No, this is demonstrably not what you said, as I just reminded you.

      "I said that there are plenty of mathematical formulations and support behind this, which you denied."

      No, this is not what you said. I pointing out that current BSM predictions are scientifically worthless, and in response you claimed they have a logically solid background.

      This is not the cases. I have asked you dozens of times to please provide one of those supposed "logically sound" formulation. You have not come up with one. Unsurprisingly, because there aren't any.


      Delete
  16. Phillip Helbig's description of the Moriond conferences sounds great, especially the extra-curricular activity like skiing in the afternoon for 4 hours. I've been cross country skiing day after day here in New England, with plentiful snow on the ground. But several days of warmth are cutting into the snow pack at lower elevations, so might have to go to Monadnock State Park today.

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  17. @sabine

    "This is not the cases. I have asked you dozens of times to please provide one of those supposed "logically sound" formulation. You have not come up with one. Unsurprisingly, because there aren't any."

    C'mon!... I even provided links to papers!
    As someone said... "There are lies, big lies, and statistics". Or, in addition, this blog.

    Cheers.

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    Replies
    1. Roberto,

      Yes, you provided links to papers. I looked at all those papers and explained to you patiently why they do not provide any "logically sound" reason. You either didn't like the answer or didn't understand it.

      Delete
    2. @ Roberto and Sabine, but especially Roberto,

      Jethro Tull has the line "I have the right to be wrong" in their album Passion Play. While you may not agree with everything Sabine writes here it does appear the language here is over the top. She does point out things to seriously ponder or question, where even if you disagree at some point there is no reason for this sort of emotional reaction.

      Too often in scientific profession an error or working a theory that fails is utterly fatal to a career. It is an environment that fosters a rather unfortunate sort of mentality that is harsh.

      Delete
    3. "She does point out things to seriously ponder or question,"

      Like what? Like "the rich get richer"?... when commenting about the funding for FCC?
      C'mon!

      Delete
    4. I don't think she ever said that. Doing particle physics is a rather hard way to get rich. Of course those of us in the PhD ranks tend to have nice salaries, while many have far less.

      My real point is there is a core philosophical, or in the analytical sense a metaphysical, issue that she raises with respect to how we not just do physics, but with how we even approach it and the methods of thought.

      I am less committal on this issue of the FCC. What I find interesting is there is this particle physics desert from the TeV scale to the GUT scale of a trillion TeV. This is based on theory, but this includes GUT theories we know can't be completely right. So not building the FCC is based on theoretical arguments and theories she criticizes.

      I tend to think that maybe with enough international support the FCC can be built. It might be the physics version of the International Space Station. While I have regarded the ISS an orbiting white elephant, I will give it a plus for serving as a sort of technological diplomacy system appropriate for the post cold war world. Maybe the FCC could serve some similar role now.

      Delete
    5. "I don't think she ever said that."

      Yes, she did.

      Delete
    6. I will cap this off here, for this is a "t'is too, t'is not" argument. To make it real you should find explicitly where she wrote that, quote it and link it to the page.

      Delete
    7. "To make it real you should find explicitly where she wrote that, quote it and link it to the page."

      Piece of cake! :-)

      http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2019/03/motte-and-bailey-particle-physics-style.html?showComment=1552310345710#c5233526040338873617

      "If you complain that other people (eg: me) do not have competing proposals that are worked out at a similar level, then you are primarily drawing attention to the fact that in science the rich get richer. Give me 11 million Euro and 4 years and I'll be back with a stack of proposals detailing what I recommend we do with the billions of dollars."

      The ball is in your field now.
      Cheers.

      Delete
    8. To point out the obvious, the statement you quote was not referring to salaries. It was referring to funding that goes into subdisciplines.

      Delete
    9. @Roberto: Do you disagree with that for some reason?

      Institutions that are well funded and can hire many people to make proposals are likely to make more and better proposals, and will likely receive far more funding, than individuals that get no funding to make proposals. That is the meaning of "the rich get richer" in the statement you quote, and that is obviously true.

      It is also something worth thinking about, if one believes science funding should be distributed on scientific merit and not on the financial wherewithal of who can hire the biggest crew to make the most proposals or the flashiest presentations.

      I think your derision is misplaced; the fact that the rich get richer is indeed worth seriously pondering and questioning.

      Delete
    10. @Fan of Sabine

      "@Roberto: Do you disagree with that for some reason?

      Institutions that are well funded and can hire many people to make proposals are likely to make more and better proposals, and will likely receive far more funding, than individuals that get no funding to make proposals."

      Sure I disagree!... it is sufficient to look at the list of the recipients of the Horizon 2020 money!... full of small projects/labs/groups of scientists/engineers!

      Wake up!

      P.S.: and... no, I am NOT providing the link to the list of Horizon2020 recipients!... I'm fed up with doing the homework for lazy people, adepts of a fake scientist. Go fetch the list yourself, and ONLY AFTER come back and discuss, OK?
      Cheers.

      Delete
    11. Roberto,

      "it is sufficient to look at the list of the recipients of the Horizon 2020 money!... full of small projects/labs/groups"

      Horizon 2020 is not a program that funds large institutions like, eg CERN or EMBL, as you hopefully know. Besides that, I have been talking about the size of a subdiscipline, not about the size of a project group. You are entirely misunderstanding the point.

      Delete
    12. @sabine

      "Horizon 2020 is not a program that funds large institutions like, eg CERN or EMBL, as you hopefully know. "

      I sure "hopefully" know, contrary to you, that indeed the FCC study has been funded by Horizon 2020... and CERN, with MANY other smaller labs, has been a recipient of it.
      Try again.

      Delete
    13. @sabine

      "I have been talking about the size of a subdiscipline, not about the size of a project group. You are entirely misunderstanding the point. "

      No cherie!... with "the rich get richer" you certainly were not hinting at the size of the project groups.

      In particular after the rich getting richer, you added:

      "Give me 11 million Euro and 4 years and I'll be back with a stack of proposals detailing what I recommend we do with the billions of dollars."

      ... so, in fact, you were talking about the 11 millions that CERN got for FCC studies.

      You are hopeless.

      Delete
    14. Roberto,

      "in fact, you were talking about the 11 millions that CERN got for FCC studies."

      Do you want to claim now that the FCC study is not about particle physics? Please go ahead, your attempt at leading arguments is greatly amusing.

      Delete
    15. Roberto: I think you are missing the point.

      If the FCC study was funded by anybody with 11M for four years, to describe how exactly to spend 20B, then why would you think any alternative way(s) to spend 20B would cost any less than 11M or four years to devise?

      The point is you cannot expect an individual to propose alternatives without comparable resources.

      And the point about "the rich get richer" is that nobody else but an already giant project is going to be awarded 11M and four years just to write a proposal.

      Delete
  18. @Sabine, Roberto

    Whatever the exact wording used in the post, I do think you are overstepping the line of honesty here. You took the trouble to take a screenshot of the LHC outreach page and post it on your blog with a red flag, as if they were making some outlandish claim, but all one can read is a mild statement about what they MIGHT find. There is a clear disproportion between what you splash on your blog and the real content, when one takes the trouble to look at it. Aren't you ever (God forbid) hyping you argument?

    The title is also pure hype. Are you seriously claiming that all scientific conferences are there to announce great discoveries? Of course not, you know it well. There are hundreds of conferences just in physics every year, and their purpose is for scientists to present their work and exchange with colleagues. This is a triviality for practising scientists, but not for the general public, whom you lead to believe that, since no thundering discovery was announced, then it's a failure. Who is deceiving the public by hyping things up here?

    You also fail to point out that Moriond is not just about HEP, but also gravitation and quantum physics for instance, thus smearing the names of those scientists who have nothing to do with HEP but just happen to present their work at Moriond.

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    1. Opamanfred,

      Please explain what "red flag" I have supposedly added to the screen shot, I can not follow.

      " as if they were making some outlandish claim,"

      This is entirely your wording, not mine.

      "The title is also pure hype. Are you seriously claiming that all scientific conferences are there to announce great discoveries?"

      This demonstrates you either did not read what I wrote or you did not understand it.

      "whom you lead to believe that, since no thundering discovery was announced, then it's a failure. Who is deceiving the public by hyping things up here?"

      I never said anything like this. Stop fabricating things I did not say.

      "You also fail to point out that Moriond is not just about HEP, but also gravitation and quantum physics for instance, thus smearing the names of those scientists who have nothing to do with HEP but just happen to present their work at Moriond."

      I "smear" names of scientists who attend a conference by pointing out the conference takes place? That's an interesting way to put it. Alas, your attempts to attack me merely show that, as usual, you have nothing substantial to say.

      Delete
  19. As usual, you first insinuate that physics is not discovering anything, that physicists are deceivers and liars (CERN's video "full of lies"), etc, then, when someone points out that you are trespassing the decency line, you retreat and whine childishly that you "never said that".
    But you should look at how some non professional physicists read your words, including here on this blog, to understand that they do often interpret them as a statement that scientists are greedy liars.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Opamanfred,

      You accused me of saying things that I did not say. I pointed out that your accusations are incorrect.

      That you think it is "childish" of me to point out that your accusations are incorrect does not help your case.

      I care very little about your personal "decency line". If you do not like my blog, no one forces you to read it.

      Delete
  20. See "Smashing" by Jonathan O'Callaghan from Scientific American.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Dr. Bee,
    Forgive me if you've already answered this, and I realize this is a maddening question -- please feel free to answer any or none of it. Thank you for writing.

    How much confidence can we have in the standard model overall? I've been under the impression, as an amateur enthusiast, that the standard model only includes things that have been experimentally verified to an exceptional degree of confidence -- is this true? Or are there areas where something became accepted as fact before it had been rigorously confirmed? Are scientists prematurely writing about the lepton flavor anomalies as though they are factual, or have they done similar things in the past?

    Phrased another way, if physicists believe there is value to a larger collider that may only confirm what we already know, then is there a similar value to restarting some smaller colliders? Are we certain the top quark is really there, did we move on to the next collider too quickly? (I have no reason to single out the top quark in particular.) Are old experiments routinely re-confirmed with new technology as part of scientific pratice, or does it go unquestioned once established?

    ReplyDelete
  22. How about a moratorium on the building of expensive new colliders and experiments until there's a broad consensus on one or more promising theories that point the way forward?

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    Replies
    1. @Bill

      That seems a very Ambitious Hope in The Cognitive discernment potential in Physicists ... Reasonable in Theory, A Quimera in The Practice ...

      ... But Chineses, just to show their 'political power and evolution' will build The Next Big Collider ... Therefore, The Actual Drama is just Some Kids whining because they want their toy first rather than their 'ugly' neighbors ...

      If The Ugly Neighbors find something, then, The Whining Kids will feel Bad ... The Whining Kids are not caring about 'To Find Something' ...They are just caring about 'Play with The Bigger Toy' and be The Firsts...

      Of course, If Their Dad thinks that The Toy is not worthy of investment ... The Dad will laugh when His Neighbor expend a fortune in A bigger toy that does the same that His Old, Tiny and 'Cheaper Toy' ...

      Delete
  23. i have great idea - don't go and don't read the slides if you don't find it interesting. It is really really simple actually

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    Replies
    1. Kbot: This is the same logical fallacy as "if you don't love your country, leave it."

      The assumption behind that is that we are only driven to act selfishly (perhaps you can't think of any other way to act). But obviously, if I DO love my country (or profession) but I think it is behaving badly, wasting time and resources or actively harming people, then leaving it doesn't solve my problem -- It would still be misbehaving.

      If Dr. Hossenfelder's goal is, for the love of physics, to prevent it from continuing to misbehave, and lie, and misappropriate funds, then simply disengaging from science does nothing. The fact that she continue to suffer abuse from the short-sighted apologists for the lying physicists, and doesn't just walk away or put her head down and work on her own projects, is all the evidence you need to know she isn't acting selfishly, and in fact is acting altruistically because she wants her fellow physicists to return to the path of truth and rationality instead of seeking billions of dollars and wasting another decade or two of careers building an experiment that almost certainly will go nowhere.

      Delete
  24. @Mr. Kersevan

    "...just love for science."

    May I ask you for your definition of "science"?

    I once thought that I knew what the meanings of such words meant. Like Dr. Hossenfelder, I chose to study mathematics in order to fully prepare for scientific pursuits. But certain questions in mathematics sidetracked that plan. My research into those questions repeatedly led to definitions of mathematics insisting that mathematics is whatever a mathematician does.

    I think your definition of science might ultimately be of a similar nature. Science is whatever a "scientist" says that it is. And, that is fine with you as long as it provides a casual entertainment.

    Of greatest concern to the many lay readers of this blog is that nothing about this seems "scientific" anymore. In my youth, science was supposed to be about "the observable universe". That train left the station long ago.

    I am a reader of this blog because my personal research in the foundations of mathematics has numerous parallels with what I read (without any real understanding) concerning quantum gravity. This should not be. But, there is an explanation.

    In the most naive account, people believe extraordinary things about mathematics. I certainly cannot explain it. If, in fact, natural selection is a natural law and human beings are evolved organisms, then mathematics can say nothing about anything that lies beyond what we decide as our shared cognitive experience.

    This corresponds with what is called a coherence theory of truth. One reason philosophers reject it is because it really cannot speak of "truth" at all.

    George Ellis spoke of this in Dr. Hossenfelder's book, although few of her readers would have recognized it. David Hume gave us the modern argument for skepticism. Immanuel Kant offered the only compatible alternative--a coherence theory.

    Please tell us what you mean by "science".

    ReplyDelete
  25. It is funny to observe how people supposed to be critical thinkers with Reason lost their Rationality when/where their fear to lost the Charity from The Taxpayers ... ROFL ...

    All the Propaganda about Scientists as Rational Critical Thinkers is just That, PROPAGANDA ...

    ReplyDelete
  26. Great post. I belong to the linguistics/psychology world, but I follow your blog ever since your book came out. This particular blog and the interesting comments here reminds me of a well-known (or should-be-well-known) paper in psychology: How Persuasive Is A Good Fit? by Roberts and Pashler:

    https://cindy.informatik.uni-bremen.de/cosy/teaching/CM_2011/Eval1/roberts_00.pdf

    One of the points they make in this paper is that it isn't enough for a theory to make predictions that are conssistent with the observed data. Rather, the range of predictions that a theory makes should be displayed (e.g., by varying the numerical parameters around a reasonable or a-priori well-defined range) and the data (along with the uncertainty associated with the data, I should add) should be evaluated in the light of the variability in model predictions. If the model can cover the entire prediction space, the model isn't much use even if it fits the data well in the sense that one can adjust the parameters such that the model's "post-dictions" match the observed data patterns.

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  27. Not to say: "Früher war alles besser!" ("In former time all had been better!") but they have validated experiments by other, independent experiments.

    Today we have statistics. 3σ or 5σ. Or so. Bayesian statistics and so on.

    No good deal.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Title of the fiction play:

    "Particle physicists excited over discovery of nothing in particular"

    Reality biting back:

    https://home.cern/news/press-release/physics/lhcb-sees-new-flavour-matter-antimatter-asymmetry

    Q.E.D.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. good luck getting people excited about it

      Delete
    2. "good luck getting people excited about it"

      OK: Sabine Hossenfelder is not excited about it.
      I think I will be able to sleep anyway tonite.

      You said "nothing in particular", but that particular exists. You don't like it, who cares???? Who SHOULD care that you don't care, most of all?
      Cheers.

      Buy the book! :-)

      Delete
    3. Roberto,

      You seem to have trouble understanding what the title of my blogpost refers to. Hint: It's explained in the blogpost.

      Delete
    4. Roberto: What is the Q.E.D. exactly?

      She wrote "the predictions for new particles besides the Higgs were all wrong. [...] particle physicists want you to think it’s exciting they have found neither dark matter, nor extra dimensions, nor supersymmetry, nor anything else that is not in the standard model."

      She proceeded to provide examples of this "heads I win, tails you lose" spin doctoring.

      The effect you are pointing out as confirmed does not refute this point at all, no new particles have been discovered.

      Delete
    5. "She wrote "the predictions..."

      She wrote also something else. Read everything.
      She wrote that people meet in Moriond with nothing to get excited about, but now there's an exciting (*) news given in Moriond, which confirms that she doesn't know what she's talking about.
      Just PR for her book. Buy it!

      (*) Not sufficiently exciting for SH, of course.

      Delete
    6. Roberto,

      "She wrote that people meet in Moriond with nothing to get excited about"

      I wrote nothing of that sort whatsoever. Seriously, do you have trouble reading? Do you have trouble with time-ordering? Why the heck would I write something about what's going on at a conference that has not yet taken place? The title of my blogpost refers - as is obvious to everyone except you - to the quotes in that blogpost. I end with stating that the weeks of the conference will be interesting. What about this is it that you do not understand, Roberto? Do you just pretend to not comprehend the obvious, or can you really not follow text extending over more than one sentence?

      You have once again failed to produce any evidence that I said what you claimed I did because, needless to say, I did not. Will you ever stop fabricating false statements about me?

      Everyone else: Roberto Kersevan is an employee at CERN. He is here to demonstrate how particle physicists argue.

      Delete
    7. @Sabine "what the heck am I talking about?" Hossenfelder

      ""She wrote that people meet in Moriond with nothing to get excited about"

      I wrote nothing of that sort whatsoever. Seriously, do you have trouble reading? Do you have trouble with time-ordering?"

      Oh, really?
      You didn't mention "Moriond" and "nothing to get excited about" in this blog?

      Just scroll up to the top, read the title "Particle physicists excited over discovery of nothing in particular" and read also the conference announcement/flyer... does it say "Moriond" in it?

      Yes or now, Mrs Borderline?

      This blog is a complete joke.

      Delete
  29. Now you get to review 500 papers "explaining" it, after the fact. Isn't that exciting?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Explaining what? The CP violation in D0-decays? This is compatible with the standard model and it was not entirely unexpected either. Physics World has some context.

      Results from the "new physics" searches will not come until next week, I believe on Tuesday, if I read the program correctly.

      Delete
    2. In your link, Thomas Browder says “We congratulate LHCb and CERN on their new result on CP violation in the charm quark sector, which suggests an unexpected path to new physics”.

      So papers detailing whatever new physics he thinks this suggests.

      But I'm over my head; I was joking.

      Delete
  30. @Mr. Kersevan

    No definition of what you interpret the word "science" to mean? I am quite curious.

    The internet is full of individuals who engage in all kinds of ad hominem. You seem to like the cynical version in which self interest becomes the basis for discrediting someone else's hard work.

    Dr. Hossenfelder has made her stand. Meanwhile, you will not answer my simple question.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Dr. Hossenfelder,

    I've had the privilege of working in many different areas, and I can tell you that there's no field where people will rush incomplete and hyped up ideas to the public with little evidence that they actually work simply because they want money. One can mention the Internet bubble in the early 2000s, and in finance people still pay high fees to managers even when there's almost no evidence that they can consistently get more returns than a simple average of all stocks in a market.

    The beautiful thing about science is that, while in other fields every minute another gullible person is born that will buy into the newest fad, in science we can actually prove that some ideas don't work in a conclusive way.

    For all its troubles, the LHC has actually done its job, it has helped science self-correct. If it did so on the basis of meaningless predictions done to finance it in the first place, it doesn't matter. The results are there for everyone to see. It was not clear before that there would be no new particles at the LHC energy scale, and now we know for sure there isn't.

    In my view, it's somewhat similar to what Gödel did when he proved his incompleteness theorems. Viewing it from one point, it meant the collapse of a research program, but it also made obvious some aspects of mathematics that were not clear before.

    These days I have read a beautiful paper outlining a way to construct a quintillion Standard Models from string theory. Although it's a more or less expected result, it at least formalizes what has been known intuitively for a long time, that string theory cannot produce reliable higher energy predictions only based on the data we already know. If the conclusions in that paper are validated, we can at least understand better in a formal way why string theory failed so badly and what are the steps to fix it so that a predictive theory can be created.

    I agree with your points about the current state of HEP, but it's my sincere belief that we have a lot to learn looking at the failures of science, not only the successes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Regarding the quadrillion standard models... The standard model as a field theory has ~20 free parameters (masses, couplings, etc), determined by experiment. In a "standard model from string theory", those parameters are determined by the ground state of the specific geometry (e.g. specific Calabi-Yau).

      Each of those quadrillion standard models should make a distinct set of predictions for those masses and couplings. If it were possible to calculate those predictions, that's how you would tell whether any of those vacua might describe the real world. Unfortunately they generically contain strong couplings ("Dine-Seiberg problem") which means that it's like trying to calculate the particle spectrum of QCD, something we need supercomputer lattice calculations to do.

      So in practice, string phenomenology proceeds in other ways, e.g. by looking for vacua where there is clearly one heavy quark (that will be the top quark), "looking under the streetlight" at vacua that happen to be more calculable (e.g. because their moduli are rigid), and otherwise focusing on what can be done now.

      Delete
  32. in other news after 100 years of quantum gravity - ya still got nothing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right, kbot, and it's why I am saying that we should make more effort finding experimental evidence for quantum gravity. Rather than, say, building a larger particle collider. I am happy to hear we seem to be on the same page.

      Delete
    2. right - so because you haven't found it yet and hope to in the future we should invest more in. Good to know we absolutely agree. Oh that is right - it just so happens you work now in that area. Now i understand everything.

      Delete
    3. kbot,

      "right - so because you haven't found it yet and hope to in the future we should invest more in"

      No, this is incorrect. The reason we should invest in it is that the existence of quantum gravitational effects is a solid prediction, based on an inconsistency.

      "it just so happens you work now in that area"

      I actually don't, funny, eh?

      Delete
    4. https://arxiv.org/abs/1203.6191

      huh

      Delete
    5. https://arxiv.org/abs/1010.3420

      https://arxiv.org/abs/0911.2761

      for someone who doesn't work in that area you sure have written quite a lot about it

      Delete
    6. Yes, interesting, isn't it, that I know what I am talking about?

      Delete
    7. it is something isn't it. The person who is completely biased. but tells the world that other people are lying to them and can't be trusted. You are certainly something interesting i will give you that. Word's cannot express what i think of you.

      Delete
    8. kbot3000,

      You stated (see above):

      "it just so happens you work now in that area [of quantum gravity]"

      This statement is false. I have no idea what makes people like you think that you know better what I work or do not work on than I do myself.

      I also have no idea what your further elaborations on my bias is alluding to. Of course I have biases, but I do not know what you are talking about here.

      In any case, your comments have proved to contain an extraordinarily high amount of false statements. I have neither the time nor the patience to correct your nonsense endlessly. You do not need to bother submitting further comments, I will now direct them right to junk. Good bye.

      Delete
  33. And do you think the theoretical predictions for finding evidence of quantum gravity in tabletop experiments well below the Planck scale are more reliable than predictions to find new particles below the Planck scale with a collider? Why so?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because a theory of quantum gravity is necessary to remove inconsistencies in the existing theories. New particles below the Planck scale would be nice, but not necessary.

      Delete
    2. But these inconsistencies arise only at the Planck scale! So predictions for low-energy phenomena involving quantum gravity seem to me just like shots in the dark.
      Actually, are there any precise predictions, beside those from the Schrodinger-Newton equations of Penrose?

      Delete
    3. Opamanfred,

      Yes, the inconsistencies arise at the Planck scale, but this does not mean that you need a center-of-mass energy in a particle collision that equals the Planck energy. I explained this here. If this blogpost does not answer your question, please let me know.

      Delete

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