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Statistical problems in Astronomy and High Energy Physics

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In this talk I will consider two applications, one in Astronomy and the other in High Energy Physics, and illustrate how statistical procedures can be used to answer the important scientific questions. The talk will also briefly discuss some of the major statistical challenges in these two fields.

Whether a dwarf spheroidal galaxy is in equilibrium or being tidally disrupted by the Milky Way is an important question for the study of its dark matter content and distribution. This question is investigated using observations from the dwarf spheroidal Leo I. For Leo I, tidal disruption is detected, at least for stars sufficiently far from the centre, but the effect appears to be quite modest.

Next, I will introduce the current picture of Particle Physics and its goals. I will briefly describe some of the common statistical problems in HEP and then specialise to the problem of constructing confidence intervals in presence of nuisance parameters. The Feldman and Cousins unified method (1998) has received much attention in the physics literature. We review and discuss an extension of this method and provide a few examples. The Hybrid resampling method will also be discussed with interesting applications, if time permits.

This talk is part of the Statistics Reading Group series.

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