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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Statistical significances and projections for proton decay experiments
Date: Tuesday, October 18th
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: Chamberlin 5280
Speaker: Prudhvi Bhattiprolu, University of Michigan
Abstract: The projected discovery and exclusion capabilities of particle physics and astrophysics/cosmology experiments are often quantified using the median expected significance. We argue that this criterion leads to flawed results, which for example can counterintuitively project lessened sensitivities if the experiment takes more data or reduces its background. We advocate for standard use of the “exact Asimov” criterion detailed in this talk. Various counterintuitive flaws associated with frequentist and modified frequentist statistical measures of significance for multi-channel counting experiments are discussed in a general context and illustrated with examples. We argue in favor of conservative Bayesian-motivated statistical measures, and as an application we employ these measures to obtain the current lower limits on proton partial lifetime at various confidence levels, based on Super-Kamiokande's data, generalizing the 90% CL published limits. Finally, we present projections for exclusion and discovery reaches for proton partial lifetimes in p → ν K+ and p → e+ π0 decay channels at Hyper-Kamiokande, DUNE and JUNO.
Host: George Wojcik
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