There’s an interesting New York Times article out today, titled “New Data on Elusive Particle Shrouded in Secrecy”. The headline is misleading. There’s nothing to keep secret about our Higgs boson search, because we’re simply not done.
It’s true that we looked at some of our preliminary results last Friday. Every part of the search has more to do, and some don’t have their 2012 updates in their final form at all. And we’ve allowed ourselves only two or three weeks to go from first-pass results to the final product!
The article itself actually gets this more or less right:
Right now, most of the physicists doing the work do not even know what they have. In order to avoid bias, the physicists involved avoided looking at most of the crucial data until last week, when they “unblinded” it. About 500 physicists on each team are analyzing eight different ways a Higgs boson, once produced in the collider, might decay and leave its signature.
And, as it quotes Joe Incandela, the spokesperson for my experiment:
Our final [ICHEP] results will not be even seen by the collaboration before the last day of June and then will require the usual final cosmetics for presentation.
So you’ll have to forgive us if we keep quiet for a few more weeks about our results. They’ll be shown at ICHEP in Melbourne, Australia starting on July 4. Here at CERN, we’ll be dealing with the suspense by working on the final answer almost up to the very last minute.