Tag Archives: hadrons

Of puppies and particles

Wonderful slides

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

And you could have thought I was the only tech/design blogger somehow also talking up both puppies and hadron colliders. Well I am but a rank amateur. Matt Webb weaves together both, in the most moving post on sub-atomic physics you are likely ever to read. Meant to post this link a while back.

Suddenly he would leap to his feet and trot, tail wagging, a few paces before hurling himself at the carpet, twisting as he did so to roll and throw himself around and generally have a good old time right there in the hall. What was it Indigo, hey? What did you see, did you see a ghost who said -Come play? Why that moment, hey boy? Just as quickly he would stand and shake himself down, and come back to his spot near the kitchen where I could see him and he could see me, and I’d be laughing. Where did it come from, that abrupt desire for play? How come that exact second for decanting some of the internal flywheel into rolling about with his belly in the air and legs waving? It reassured me that I couldn’t see any cause, that it was something inside. It meant Indigo had his own internal life, and so I could love him more.

I was 10 years, 9 months, 3 weeks and 3 days old the day they activated the Large Hadron Collider. I was at college in a lecture the day I found out they’d found the Higgs boson, which gives particles mass. Mass gives momentum, and momentum is what keeps you moving. The Higgs is where it comes from:

the universe is a house, and you’re a particle – let’s say a proton – and the house is packed full of ghosts, from wall to wall like a carpet…”

I last met Matt (one half of Schulze and Webb) at Reboot9 (pictured).

To bring the story full circle with the most recent news: Silver is turning out a wonderfully precocious pup, only 12 weeks old now already fetching her first Frisbees, and though among the youngest, miles ahead of her puppy school class. Brains, energy and it looks like we’ll have our hands full with this frisky dingo. The LHC, unfortunately, had a problem and is down for maintenance for several months. We hope to see it up and chasing subatomic frisbees again soon.