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Reconstructing RealityModels, Mathematics, and Simulations$
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Margaret Morrison

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199380275

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199380275.001.0001

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Without it there’s Nothing

Without it there’s Nothing

The Necessity of Simulation in the Higgs Search

(p.287) 8 Without it there’s Nothing
Reconstructing Reality

Margaret Morrison

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the extensive use of simulation in the search for the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Too often we assume that although simulation can be an important part of experimentation, it nevertheless plays a secondary role. However, what the discussion shows is that knowledge gained via simulation has literally made possible virtually every aspect of the LHC experiments, from the design and construction of the machine to knowing what to look for and what the results mean. Although it is obvious that no simulation can prove that the Higgs particle exists, its discovery would not have been possible without it. The other equally important issue in this chapter concerns the methodology of verification and validation in the context of the LHC experiments, in particular how we evaluate the epistemic status of simulated data when there is a lack of experimental data available for comparison.

Keywords:   simulation, event generators, Higgs boson, validation, signal data

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