Dec 3, 2009

Fun With Particle Physics

A chance joke on a Facebook post originated by The Ancient And Inscrutable Legume Hisself got me to thinking.

The Large Hadron Colllider is, as we all know, a machine intended to destroy the entire universe.  Little known is its secondary purpose: to help socially awkward physicists (and aren't they all?) meet hot chicks.  Way down the very long line of possible purposes for the LHC is to prove or disprove the existence of a particle called the Higgs boson, supposedly an integral and pervasive component of Life, the Universe and, well, Everything.

Back to that chance joke--a friend of the old Bean suggested that Higgs Boson was also, coincidentally, the name of a Red Sox second baseman.  My thought was that it was possibly the name of a late Twenties touring sedan, the Higgs Boson Phaeton Supreme.  Elegant thing, but it had the unfortunate tendency to have its tires burst into flame at high speed and one such accident was responsible for the death of Grover Cleveland's great great grandson, Ohio Cleveland.

Now.  Your turn.  Keep the coincidence going.  Be as succinct or as flowery as you want.  What else just so happens to share that name/title/description?


Rudi said...

Argh, work getting in the way of comedy again! I'll be back tonight with 1 or 2 boson factoids.

Rudi said...

Firstly, have you seen pictures of the LHC? I go all slack jawed and damn near drool over my keyboard looking at the pics.
It's like real life Stargate geek porn even without Grace Park or Amanda Tapping draped over it.

meno said...

I believe that there is also the Higgs Boson Wind, which is responsible for the congregation of coconuts that have a very specific gravity due to the amount of coconut milk inside equaling the absorption of salt water such that they float exactly 50% in the water and 50% out, a delicate balance.

It is a fact that if local fishermen find this treasure trove of slightly water logged coconuts, underneath is a school of giant sea kittens, which can be easily scooped up with nets.

Thus you will find PETA ships rushing to the site of these morasses of coconuts whenever the Higgs Boson Wind is blowing.

Rudi said...

The Higgs Bosun car was particularly heavy even for cars of its day. It was that weight coupled with a poor tire design that lead to the now famous Uniroyal Duraflame Omni Pryotechnic Excelsior (UDOPE) tire logo. To this day Cleveland blames Akron for the cheap tires that caught on fire.

Eventually "Higgs Boson" became a slang term for something very heavy or something to heavy to exist for long without going out in a blaze of glory.

Rudi said...

Tragic deaths, like that of Cleveland, have long lasting affects. In this case the firery death had reverberations all the way into the afterlife. The ghost of young Ohio Cleveland haunts the city of Akron (from which we derive the term 'acrid' of course) to this day.

Lest the locals forget how Cleveland died, he is on occasion known to ignite the Cuyahoga River.

Rudi said...

Oddly enough, at the same time there was an up a coming athlete by the name of Harry Leslie Higgins. Higgins was an English cricketer who played 98 first-class matches in the 1920s. He was know by his friends and enemies alike as "Higgs". After serving in World War I the famous American sports writer John J. Fitz Gerald was touring Europe and had a chance to see Higgs in action.

Higgins was exceptionaly good at bowling a wicked googly. It had become his signature move. In cricket, a googly is a type of delivery bowled by a right-arm leg spin bowler. It is occasionally referred to as a Bosie, Bosey or Bosun after its inventor Bernard Bosanquet.

Fitz Gerald wanted a way to descibe to the readers back home in America just how heavy the ball looked when Higgins bowled it. Remembering the story about Cleveland Ohio's unfortunate demise he settled on calling Higgins Googly a "Higgs Bosun" because it burned up the turf and struck the wickets like a speeding 2 ton car.

Rudi said...

The car crash can also be traced through the ethereal Ohio zeitgeist to some other Hot, Heavy and Round beauties.

Bob said...

Captain Jeremiah Higgs commanded her majesty's ship Scalaire in the 1870's. They were part of the British blockade of the port of New York during the U.S. revolutionary war. Having been on blockade duty for some months, they were temporarily relieved and were sent to Nova Scotia, a friendly territory, for 7 days shore leave. The sailors broke out their crackerjack outfits - which included a hat that had the name of the ship embroidered on it - spiffed them up off they went. Now, one of the professional crew was one Robert Brout. He had a thing for chocolate, so the first thing he did was to purchase the largest candy bar he could find. As he was walking down the docks, eating his chocolate bar and taking in the local sights, he neglected to watch where he was going (being distracted by the sights of local doxies)and bumped into an officer from another ship. This officer, who particularly loved peanut butter, had been eating straight out of the jar when so accosted. Mr. Brout came to attention while the officer stared at the chocolate bar sticking out of his jar of peanut butter. Looking at Brout, the officer recognized his ship's name and his insignia and said, "So, you're Higgs' boson's mate? Your chocolate is in my peanut butter. Hmmm. It tastes pretty damned good". A stander-by named Ridcully Reese heard this and a new confection was born.

To this day we owe the beginning of the universe of Reese's peanut butter cups to Higgs' boson, Robert Braut.

Irrelephant said...

Wow! You guys really surpassed yourselves! Big congrats and wreaths of rare particles all around!

meno, I have to admit I was imagining big nets of sea kittehs all day. :) Thankfully I'm a landlubber.

Rudi, I think you made me laugh the longest, what with each separate installation!

Bob, a big congrats to you for bringing in the classic advertising touch, mixing it artfully with seamanship! Bravo!

Scott from Oregon said...

Dwight Higgsbo was a farmer with astrophysical aspirations. At night he would ride around his fields on his tractor side saddle and contemplate the universe. Even with his peculiarities, he did eventually marry and produced a son.

Higgsbo's son grew to love rocketry and machines that hurled cow turds a long way.

The particle was of course, named after him...

Gordo said...

Snicker ... I'll have to pass this along on Monday. I work in the Physics Department at Queen's (home of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory).

Just for the record, physiscists are stranger than you think. ;-)

Mickey Glitter said...

Okay, I'm lost and I blame that totally on using the words physicist and hot and chick in the same sentence, because now my mind's all focused on a hot chick physicist (even though she may be fictional).