Illustration for article titled Particle physicists still unwilling to call Obama-victory, await five sigma results

Some post-election levity for your Wednesday morning. Writes the incomparable Geoff Brumfiel on his blog, Freak of Nature:

With every state except Florida reporting, the New York Times announced that Obama had won the popular vote and easily gained the electoral college points needed to win re-election. The Princeton Election Consortium put the probability of Obama's victory at 99.2%.

But that confidence level is still several standard deviations away from the point at which particle physicists would be willing to declare the next president. According to the norms of the field, pollsters would have to be 99.99995% confident that Obama had won before physicists would be willing to call the race.


GET IT? Particle physicists are suckers for five-sigma certainty. Obama's 99.2% would put him at less than 3-sigma. Unacceptable.

Sigh. Science jokes, you slay us.

[Geoff Brumfiel]


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