This new video has been bouncing around the blogs and Twitter feeds I read: excerpts from internal (i.e., non-public) talks at the CMS collaboration, as they revealed to themselves the new Higgs results from this summer. When you started hearing rumors last June, it was from these meetings that they emerged.
First we see two talks at internal collaboration meetings, by Mingming Yang on June 15 and by Andre David on June 28, then some of Joe Incandela’s public announcement on July 4 (along with Fabiola Gianotti’s talk about the ATLAS results, of course). In the first talk the significance was poking past four sigma, but not yet reaching five sigma, which took a bit more work (and data).
You might expect a lot of whooping and hollering on the part of the experimenters as they see how good their data is, but for the most part they are pretty quiet. It’s not because they don’t recognize the importance of the moment — it’s because their brains are working at full capacity, taking in the information on the slides and trying to understand exactly what it means.
The first talk is advertised as “unblinding,” when they first look at the results that they have intentionally hidden from themselves to prevent cheating. That seems like a tiny exaggeration, unless they’ve written a script that takes the data, turns it into a pretty plot, and uploads and captions that plot on a PowerPoint slide without any human being seeing it. (I suppose it’s possible…) But this is when most of the collaboration first heard the news, which is an historic moment by any measure.