Your submission is now in Draft mode.

Once it's ready, please submit your draft for review by our team of Community Moderators. Thank you!

Your essay is now in Draft mode

Once you submit your essay, it will be available to judges for review and you can no longer edit it. Please make sure to review eligibility criteria before submitting. Thank you!

Submit Essay

Once you submit your essay, you can no longer edit it.


This content now needs to be approved by community moderators.


This essay was submitted and is waiting for review by judges.

Ambulance chasing the LHC diphoton resonance


In a recent paper, Backović has studied the phenomenon of "ambulance chasing" in particle physics, i.e. the flood of papers in the months following a tentative experimental signal, only to slow as interest is lost, fresh ideas are exhausted or the experimental signatures disproven.

Backović shows that a simple two parameter model accurately fits the evolution of the cumulative number of preprints on a topic for nine episodes of ambulance chasing in recent history. The model is then used to forecast the total number of preprints that will be written about the recent 750 GeV diphoton excess seen at the Large Hadron Collider. There is a recent Metaculus question about this topic, asking whether the statistical significance of the excess will increase by the ICHEP conference. The present question is not about the excess itself, but about whether Backović's forecast for the number of preprints on the excess will prove correct.

Specifically, Backović predicts that the number of preprints on the arxiv about the diphoton excess by June 1, 2016 follows a Poisson distribution with a mean of 271 papers. In other words, the 90% credible interval for the number of preprints is predicted as 244 to 298 (inclusive).

This question resolves positively if, on June 1, 2016, the number of preprints on the diphoton excess falls within the range given above. The number of preprints is measured using Backović's methodology, namely, trawling the inSPIRE and arXiv repositories for citations to the original announcement of an excess by ATLAS and selecting only those papers with an arXiv number assigned.

Make a Prediction


Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Current points depend on your prediction, the community's prediction, and the result. Your total earned points are averaged over the lifetime of the question, so predict early to get as many points as possible! See the FAQ.

Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site