The Waves and the Sigmas
(To Say Nothing of the 750GeV Mirage)1

G. D'Agostini

Università ``La Sapienza'' and INFN, Roma, Italia



This paper shows how p-values do not only create, as well known, wrong expectations in the case of flukes, but they might also dramatically diminish the `significance' of most likely genuine signals. As real life examples, the 2015 first detections of gravitational waves are discussed. The March 2016 statement of the American Statistical Association, warning scientists about interpretation and misuse of p-values, is also reminded and commented. (The paper is complemented with some remarks on past, recent and future claims of discoveries based on sigmas from Particles Physics.)

Giulio D'Agostini 2016-09-06