Statistical inference Problems in High Energy Physics and Astronomy (06w5054)


(Michigan State University)

Louis Lyons (University of Oxford)

(University of Toronto)


Lord Rutherford famously said that any physicist who needs statistics has done the wrong experiment! Times have changed enormously since then, and this week, July 15 - July 20, 2006, an internationally renowned group of high energy physicists will meet at BIRS to discuss their experiments with some leading statistical scientists. The search for exotic particles like the Higgs boson involves analysing hundreds of millions of events, looking for the rare signal in the haystack. Statistical techniques play an important role in understanding both systematic and random fluctuations, in classifying events, and in providing means to assess the uncertainty in reported conclusions from these large scale experiments. The workshop is organized by Professor Louis Lyons, University of Oxford, Professor James Linneman, Michigan State University and Professor Nancy Reid, University of Toronto. The meeting follows a number of larger PHYSTAT conferences, that have been held in Durham, Stanford and Oxford, but is the first to be organized jointly with statisticians, with the explicit goal of producing a written summary of the current `state of the art' in combining the latest results in statistical research with the needs of high energy physicists.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is administered by the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, in collaboration with the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems Network (MITACS), the Berkeley-based Mathematical Science Research Institute (MSRI) and the Instituto de Matematicas at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM).