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The Wild World of Particle Physics

If you give a mouse a Tevatron, and that mouse is an experimental physicist, it will ask for more money to build an enormous super collider beneath Switzerland and France, telling you that it needs more energy to confirm its theory on what makes the Universe do its thing. At least, that’s roughly how it works. On Monday, physicists, grad students, and particle lovers of all shapes and rest masses gathered in Pupin to discuss the Large Hadron Collider’s findings up to this point. Lepton lover Zach Kagan was in attendance.

Bwog didn’t quite know what it had gotten itself into—all these professors and graduate students gathered to hear the exciting new results from the LHC! This must be what a cocktail party at Brian Greene’s house feels like.

As the talk got underway, Bwog found it a lot more technical than we expected. Still, some it was recognizable: quarks, photons, antimatter, nuclear forces, atomic collisions… But this was just the beginning, and we were still waiting for the secrets of the universe to be unlocked before our eyes!

As the data began to emerge on slides for the audience to view, all that we could really distinguish was a jumble of lines. A LOT of lines. But our wonderful physics faculty came to the rescue and translated. So the Higgs Boson doesn’t exist…or maybe it does. But it probably doesn’t. But, if we try at higher energies we may find it. But most experts don’t think so. Except for the ones that do. So that clears that up.

Then the talk moved back to quarks. Wait, no, squarks. Bwog started wondering where the speaker’s sudden accent had come from. But then we definitely heard the words “stop squark.” At that point, we were pretty convinced we were being punk’d. What the hell is a squark? Who names these particles anyway?

Then we spotted a sleeping grad student. Oh dear; if he doesn’t get this stuff what hope do the rest of us have? But towards the end of the meeting, a sense of relief flooded over us. It all made sense. The standard model of particle physics is fundamentally flawed without the Higgs Boson to provide mass. Through the analysis of thousands of PP hadron collision events at 7 TeV through myriad detectors, an intimate picture of nature is created. Gluons, leptons, Z bosons, muons, pions, interweave through supersymmetry, reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, quantum entangling you and me and everything in the universe. THIS IS HOW WE SEE INTO THE MIND OF GOD.

…At least, it made sense until the graphs came back. And the acronyms. Oh, the acronyms. We pined for a fully-spelled-out word. Was the text even supposed to be read left to right anymore? We wouldn’t know. So, in summary: If the Higgs Boson doesn’t exist, does that mean I don’t exist? Does anyone exist even? Oh, it’s over… well that was… insightful, yes, fascinating. It’s time to go lie down now.

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17 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous “Through the analysis of thousands of PP hadron collision events at 7 TeV through myriad detectors, an intimate picture of nature is created. Gluons, leptons, Z bosons, muons, pions, interweave through supersymmetry, reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, quantum entangling you and me and everything in the universe”

    this sounds really similar to a dream i once had about a SEAS boy.
    there was a lot of strong force…

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous “Hey girl, why don’t you come home and let my wave function collapse your Schrodinger’s cat?”

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Yesterday? Wasn’t this on Monday?

    1. Claire says:

      @Claire You’re right. We just delayed posting by a day and forgot to change up the intro.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous brian greene was actually in attendance, sitting in the back sneaking in and out before anybody can catch him. sly little bugger

  • In the future says:

    @In the future please send people who understand science to report on science talks. Thank you.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Other than a professor or a grad student in physics I don’t think many people would understand anything. He’s a physics major…

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous As a fellow physics major, I can say he should have known more. I agree with “In the future”–this was not a report on the talk, but rather a report on how he found the talk confusing.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous The last thing I read about the Higgs boson was a pop-sci book by Leon Lederman, and this in the seventh grade. I’m fairly certain I could have come up with something better than the unfortunate sentence “Gluons, leptons, Z bosons, muons, pions, interweave through supersymmetry, reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, quantum entangling you and me and everything in the universe.”

          1. hmmm says:

            @hmmm So how many of the “Anonymous” posters that have been commenting recently are physics majors? And if some of you “Anonymous” people are not, what is it about this topic that causes you to be disproportionately represented among the posters? Sincerely yours, Anonymous.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous seriously, what a pitifully written article. thanks for letting us know how little you understand about the subject, how enlightening

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous u mad bro? trololololololololololololololololololololololololo

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Really fellow, tongue-and-cheek even if subject is particle physics….

  • Just so you know says:

    @Just so you know “But most expects don’t think so. Except for the ones that do. So that clears that up.”

    experts instead of expects.

  • this guy says:

    @this guy i’m seeing radiohead tomorrow

    yes

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Huh, CU’s own Leon Lederman, former head of Fermi Lab and the writer of pop comics – yes, he’d have a twinkle in his eye conceiving of all this humbug tempest. The writer makes that perfectly clear.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Curses, you Euro Geeks. At least we had the good sense to cancel the Texas Super Collider and avoid this confusion. Just wait until the Chinese get into the act, Confucius will know.

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