CERN's Gamble Shows Perils, Rewards of Playing the Odds

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Science  29 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5488, pp. 2260-2262
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5488.2260

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Many seemingly robust findings in particle physics and astronomy have crumbled-some ignominiously-while less convincing data have brought glory. CERN is hoping for the latter in its quest to find a particle known as the Higgs boson, for which the scheduled shutdown of its Large Electron-Positron collider has been delayed a month. This endgame drama has focused attention on just what it takes to stake a claim to a particle or an event in areas of science where the data are fuzzy, sightings are fleeting, and probabilities rule.