Posts Tagged ‘Particle Physics’


July 2, 2008

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider has been in the news a lot recently, and the undertone of fear is frequently present in the angle the stories take. I don’t really want to spread the worry, since it appears that there’s not much to be alarmed about, but I’ve been having some thoughts about alarmist tendencies in the media, and figured I’d share.

It’s no secret that more people are interested in reading a story that involves potential “doomsday” then some benign tale about eggheads doing their incomprehensible nerd research in some distant location. And I suppose fear and mystery can help scientific projects get funded, what with keeping the public interested and all. Still, making people worry unnecessarily does a disservice to them and can hinder the progress of knowledge.



Tired Particle Interaction

June 14, 2008

A year ago, a very tired physicist friend and I were keeping ourselves awake and vaguely engaged in our work by discussing how the “tired particles” that seemed to be bombarding us must be interacting with our “thought particles”. I took the liberty of drawing one possible Feynman diagram of the interaction, and then promptly passed out. Fortunately, I found this MS Paint masterpiece again when I was cleaning out my computer before it was lost to the ages. Nobel Prize, here I come:

This theory is probably best applied to tiredness that occurs due to excessive academia.

I also took the opportunity to tap into the underused Hebrew alphabet, since the physics market on English and Greek characters is pretty saturated. Shin here, with the L subscript, is a “long-lasting thought”. It decays into two “short-lasting thoughts”, and the interaction is mediated by the “tired particle”, tau. My friend insisted that, as tiredness increases, her ability to sustain thoughts decreases, but she gets overwhelmed by many very short lasting though. I agree with the first part, but I think an abundance of short-lasting thoughts only comes to be via tiredness in particular circumstances, so this is not a general theory for the tired particle. The tired particle also leaves behind a “consciousness” particle, which carries with it consciousness of one’s own short-comings due to exhaustion.