Statistics in particle physics: The role it played in discovering Higgs boson


Statistics has played a decisive role in the development of particle physics, a pioneer of the so-called «big science». Its usage has grown alongside technological developments, enabling us to go from recording a few hundred events to thousands of millions of events. This article discusses how we have solved the problem of handling these huge datasets and how we have implemented the main statistical tools since the 1990s to search for ever smaller signals hidden in increasing background noise. The history of particle physics has witnessed many experiments that could illustrate the role of statistics, but few can boast a discovery of such scientific impact and dimensions as the Higgs boson, resulting from a colossal collective and technological endeavour.


statistics; Monte Carlo; p-value; particle physics; Higgs boson


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