I present methods for detecting entanglement around symmetric Dicke states. In particular, I consider N-qubit symmetric Dicke states with excitations. I show that for large N these states have the smallest overlap possible with states without genuine multipartite entanglement. Thus these states are particularly well suited for the experimental examination of multipartite entanglement. I present fidelity-based entanglement witness operators for detecting multipartite entanglement around these states. I then consider entanglement criteria, somewhat similar to the spin squeezing criterion, based on the moments or variances of the collective spin operators. Surprisingly, these criteria are based on an upper bound for variances for separable states. I present criteria detecting entanglement in general and criteria detecting only genuine multipartite entanglement. The collective operator measured for this criteria is an important physical quantity: Its expectation value essentially gives the intensity of the radiation when a coherent atomic cloud emits light.
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