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Party on Garth! Party on Wayne!

May 29, 2010

First stop in the day was to visit this road sign, a tribute to Wayne’s World… I just could not pass up!

Our Proposed route for the day would take us to the FERMI Accelerator Lab, the now second largest particle accelerator in the world (behind CERN). The visitor center was very nice and we approached the desk to inquire about a tour of the facility. She immediately pulled out this map that belonged on a child’s placemat at a Denny’s and began pointing out things like “the interpretative prairie”, “the bison pen” and the “nature hike”. I must point out that I do not hate nature, but when we come to a particle accelerator, bison and nature hikes are not what we want to see or do. Unfortunately, in depth tours only occurred on Wednesdays and every other Sunday on the lunar month that most closely lined up with the Mayan understanding of the Aztec calendar, needless to say they weren’t gonna show us jack. We were able to glean a surprising amount of information about the facility from greeter at the desk, she could have easily been mistaken for a scientist all though she denied it wholeheartedly, which added to a rising suspicion that I had (which I will inform you of in a moment). Some of the things they’re looking for at the lab are: Higgs particles, neutrino morphology, and dark energy/matter. One of the things that struck a chord was that of the neutrino studies. She mentioned that the neutrinos exist in 3 different “conformations” I guess, I don’t even know if that’s the right description, but anyways the way they analyze them is to send them around the accelerator rings and crash ‘em in to stuff. They also have a detector in Montana to which they send the particles to be analyzed further. Now, I’m sure many of you are thinking: Send the particles? Like in a box? That’s what we were thinking too! But no, the answer is far cooler… the neutrinos are so small, and so fast, that they just pass right through matter altogether, and so they focus a beam of them and just “aim” at Montana, and through the earth they go as if there was nothing there at all, TOTALLY cool.

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Now, to the suspicions previously mentioned. Upon hearing of the bison pen at the lab, my mind immediately arrived at the most obvious conclusion: government conspiracy and cover up. I suspect, that they were using the bison as targets for their particle acceleration experiments. Like I mentioned before, they were looking for the Higgs particle, which is called a boson. Now you’ll begin to notice the strong phonetic relationship between bison and boson right away and that will more than likely lead you to the same conclusion I made: a bison is an anti-boson. Suddenly it makes perfect sense to keep a herd of them at the lab, I bet that if you run particles into bison, there is a chance, however small to generate these anti-boson particles (or bison particles), and if we can do that, we can surely find the bosons themselves, Genius.

We made our way though Illinois, to Madison Wisconsin to meet Cousin Glen and his wife Claire. Madison is a Beautiful town, but more on that tomorrow.

-Seb

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Bryan permalink
    May 31, 2010 1:49 pm

    I watched a PBS documentary called “The Atom Smashers” last week. It is all about Fermilab, their mission there, how it all works, etc. I highly recommend that you watch it when you get the chance!

    Hope you’re enjoying your trip!

    -Bryan

  2. jan smick permalink
    May 31, 2010 2:06 pm

    They could also probably get a lot of those neutrino particles into the smallest USPS box and for 5 bucks ship it anywhere in the states!
    So, what happens if we eat bison meat? Would we ingest the bosons?
    And are you guys packing some duct tape? Sound like it might come in handy!
    love and kisses you 2!
    Janny

  3. victoria permalink
    June 1, 2010 11:35 am

    Maybe it’s like the song: You say bison and I say boson….

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