All entries for Wednesday 30 May 2007

May 30, 2007

The Search for Higgs–Boson

The ECT community is a-buzz with the news that the researchers of the Centre for European Research Nonsense (CERN) are soon to spark up their Large Hadron Collider (LHC). For those of you who do not keep abreast of such developments (probably because you are more interested in the forthcoming series of Big Brother), let me give a rough idea of how clever this is. The LHC is a 27km long, sub-terrainian circular tunnel on the Swiss-French border. CERN Scientists realise they have built half of the LHC the wrong way roundNo, it is not a French plan to ensure that any invading Swiss moles are returned, exhausted to Switzerland; this is Particle Physics on a scale previously only undertaken on Tracy Island. The idea is that protons are accelerated around the ring, reaching colossal velocities (fortunately only EU protons are used so their details do not need to be verified every time they cross the Swiss-French border). When suitably high speeds are achieved, they are smashed into each other. The debris collected promises to tell us lots of things, from fundamental aspects about the structure of the universe to who exactly did put the bop in the bop-shoo-wop. (Further funding will be needed to address the complex issue of the rammalamma ding-dong). In many respects, it is similar to what Ken Livingstone has been trying to achieve with the privately funded improvements to London Underground’s Circle line but faster and with fewer stops – they hope.
I notice that one of their key objectives (often described in the press as the Holy Grail of modern Physics) is to detect the existence of the Higgs boson. Here, once again, Warwick Department of ECT may be able to offer some help and advice.
We have found him.
In fact, strictly speaking, we never lost him; Ronald Higgs-Boson has been a research minion in our department since 1983. Admittedly he has not published much recently but he has been thinking very hard. All this work on light-speed collisions and fast data collection is interesting but frankly I am surprised at the difficulty our colleagues at CERN seem to be having in “detecting” him – the man weighs eighteen stone and cannot be restrained from singing karaoke at “The Dean’s Wimple” pub every Thursday night.
I just hope that they are not disappointed at our having stolen their thunder – hopefully they can now address other issues with their new toy.
Helpfully Yours,
Edwin M. Bambleweeny (Prof.)


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