Cited on Science Magazine September 5, 2008Posted by dorigo in internet, news, personal, physics, science.
Tags: bets, citations, LHC, press
This is one of those times when I shamelessly exploit this blog for my personal profit. Do ut des, Doctor Lektar. Let me explain what I am asking you.
A few weeks ago I had a long telephone chat with Adrian Cho, who later wrote a piece for Science Magazine titled “Researchers, Place Your Bets!”, as well as two more concerning the LHC. The articles have appeared in today’s edition, but reading them requires a subscription, or buying a copy of the magazine which, unfortunately, is not distributed in Italy. And I morally object to web subscriptions, so I am not paying it for the piece, be it a cent or a grand.
After the interview I asked Adrian to send me a copy, which he will probably do; if not, the library of my Physics Department will in due time get its own copy. But I am curious of course: time does matter when reading what others have written about you from the information you gave them. If a kind reader of this blog has a subscription, would he or she please download the pdf of the piece(s) and send it(them) to me at dorigo(at)pd(dot)infn(dot)it ?
UPDATE: thanks to Simon (see comment below), who was quick to send the piece. Below I paste the text from the magazine (in the hope that Science Magazine does not sue me for copyright infringement):
“Researchers, Place Your Bets!”
The days before the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) should be filled with quiet contemplation and reverence for the adventure to come, says physicist Maria Spiropulu. “Now is not the time to speculate,” says the experimenter at the European particle physics lab, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland. “We should be silent and respectful and wait for the data to come.”
Or not. Many physicists seem to think that now is precisely the time to guess at what CERN’s
great particle smasher might find. And some are even willing to put their money where their
favorite theoretical models are and wager on their expectations.
Tommaso Dorigo, an experimenter at the University of Padua in Italy, doubts that the LHC will find evidence of supersymmetry, a theoretical scheme that predicts a massive “superpartner” for every known particle in physicists’ current “standard model.” In the past 10 or 15 years, extremely precise measurements of standard-model particles have indirectly undermined the viability of the notion, Dorigo says. “I realized I don’t believe in the thing,” he says. Dorigo has
bet $1000 with two other physicists that, after the LHC has accumulated a certain amount of data, it will see no sign of supersymmetry.
More precisely, Dorigo has bet that the LHC will see no clear deviations from the standard model of any kind, explains Jacques Distler, a theorist at the University of Texas, Austin, who has $750 of the action. Like a calculating professional gambler, Distler says he took
the bet because it is so open-ended that he likely can’t lose. “History has always been, you explore a new energy range and you see something new,” he says.
For some, not having a bet bespeaks the strength of their predictions. Gordon Kane, a theorist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, says he would gladly wager that the LHC will find supersymmetry, but “nobody I know will bet against it.” Stuart Raby, a theorist at Ohio State University in Columbus, also says he can’t find anyone who will take such a bet. To which Distler says, “I wonder how hard they tried.” The general public can get into the game, too. Online gambling sites and prediction exchanges such as Intrade.com, Hubdub.com, and NewsFutures.com are taking bets on when the Higgs boson will be discovered, whether the Tevatron collider at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the United States will see it first, and related questions. [Adrian Cho]
High rollers. Tommaso Dorigo (below) wagers that the LHC will see nothing new. Jacques
Distler disagrees and expects to pocket $750 of Dorigo’s money.