Betting against the 750 GeV mirage

Here is an exchange of mails with Kyle Cranmer (
[Posted here on February 10, 2018]

GdA-1 (2015-12-23 15:16) -------------------------------------------
Dear Kyle,

a friend has pointed me the article in NYT in which you are cited

According to the journalist you state that
"the bump in the Atlas data had about a 1-in-93 chance of being a fluke",
THAT IS 92-in-93 of NOT being a fluke.

In other words, FAIR bet odds are 1 to 92, right?
If this is you opinion, you should be ready to accept the bet in either direction.

For my reasons, I choose to bet 10 CHF on Fluke, asking you to bet 920 CHF on non-Fluke.

To be more clear (its is a question of money!):
- I pay 10 CHF and you pay 920 CHF;
- if the present excess will result to be something a real new particle, you will get the 930 CHF;
- if the present excess will turn out to be just a fluke, I will get the 930 CHF.

If you accept, we can define a trusted person at CERN to hold the money,
waiting for the result of the new run.

Best regards,


KC-1 (2015-12-23 19:08) --------------------------------------------

Hi Giulio

I understand the betting odds, but that wasn't my quote. I provided the p-value number and he wrote the part about being a "fluke".

That phrase is not precise and I can interpret either as a classic probability inversion (mistake) or as a colloquial way of saying "a bump at least this big assuming there is no signal" (i.e. a p-value.)

My odds are more like 1/3 that this is real.
I'll bet you 30CHF if you want.


GdA-2 (2015-12-23 19:47) ---------------------------------
Thanks a lot for your prompt reply, Kyle!

This is want I wanted to hear, although I can ensure you that
in other cases similar statements have been provided _verbatim_ to
journalists by our colleagues, or they have been directly written by them[*]
(And also in this case, an Italian physicist of ATLAS has WRITTEN something similar,
so that he cannot blame the journalist:

Anyway, I accept the bet you propose (10CHF Vs 30CHF),
and I do not think we need a kind of notary :-)

Best wishes,



KC-2 (2015-12-23 22:38) ---------------------------------- 
I agree and appreciate your interest in these matters. I took an extended interview trying to break down these points of confusion.

I'll take the bet, and I agree, no notary is needed. I would hope that by this time next year it will be clear.

All the best,