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The European Physical Journal C

, Volume 70, Issue 1–2, pp 525–530

First Online: 15 October 2010Received: 01 June 2010Revised: 28 September 2010


When searching for a new resonance somewhere in a possible mass range, the significance of observing a local excess of events must take into account the probability of observing such an excess anywhere in the range. This is the so called -look elsewhere effect-. The effect can be quantified in terms of a trial factor, which is the ratio between the probability of observing the excess at some fixed mass point, to the probability of observing it anywhere in the range. We propose a simple and fast procedure for estimating the trial factor, based on earlier results by Davies. We show that asymptotically, the trial factor grows linearly with the fixed mass significance.

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Autor: Eilam Gross - Ofer Vitells


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