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Pineta


Particle Physics and Pony Fiction Experimentalist

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Oct
11th
2014

Twilight and Pinkie visit Fermilab (Batavia, Illinois) · 5:47pm Oct 11th, 2014


Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie lay on the grass in the middle of a field of reclaimed prairie on the site of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, together with a group of the resident buffalo with whom they had just made friends. In the distance they could see the distinctive shape of the high-rise laboratory building of Wilson Hall.

Our herd has lived here at the frontier of particle physics research for over forty years,” said Chief Vector Gauge Bison. “We were first invited here by Robert Wilson himself in 1969. That was an exciting time in particle physics when it was realized that protons and neutrons are made up of smaller particles called quarks. At first it was thought there were just three flavors of quark: up, down and strange. But we have since discovered the charm, bottom and top quarks. The last two were found here at Fermilab. We have overseen many exciting discoveries and revolutionary developments.”

“Tell them about the Tevatron chief,” said Goldstone Bison—one of the younger cows.

“The Tevatron was a circular particle accelerator built here—the biggest proton-antiproton collider ever built. It accelerated protons and antiprotons, moving in opposite directions, to energies of a Tera-electron volt. These flew through vacuum pipes, guided by superconducting magnets, at very close to the speed of light. The beams intersected at two detectors, where four-story high arrays of precision instruments recorded the tracks of the showers of particles produced by the collisions. Teams of physicists then analyzed this data using high power computers, searching for signs of new particles. This was how we found the top quark in 1995.”

“But it's no longer running?” asked Twilight.

“It was shut down in 2011,” replied the chief. “The Large Hadron Collider, at CERN in Europe is now the most powerful particle collider, and has reached an energy of 7 Tera-electronvolts. Fermilab researchers were heavily involved in building it, and are now running the CMS experiment there, through our Remote Operations Center, working with our European friends to search for New Physics beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics.”

“The high energy frontier has moved to CERN,” said Goldstone. “But we still have smaller experiments running here.”

“Like the NOvA experiment,” said her sister, Nambu Bison, standing to her side. “Which sends a beam of neutrinos 500 miles through the earth to a detector in Minnesota.”

“What are neutrinos?” asked Twilight.

“Weakly interacting particles. You can send a beam of them straight through the earth as they hardly ever interact with ordinary matter.”

“They don't like to get in the way,” whispered Pinkie to Twilight. “The Fluttershy of particles.”

“You need a really huge detector to catch them,” finished Nambu.

“And we have the gee minus two experiment,” said Higgs Bison, an elderly gray-haired bull.

“What's gee minus two?” asked Twilight.

“It's what you get when you subtract two from gee,” explained Pinkie.

Twilight looked at her with a skeptical frown.

“It was on the news last summer. They shipped a great big gianormous magnet here, all the way from New York, and threw a super special party for everyone when it arrived.”

“It's the gyromagnetic ratio of the muon,” explained Higgs Bison. “It deviates from the simple prediction of g=2 due to interactions with other particles. So by taking a really precise measurement we can look for new particles.”

“Like sleptons and squarks and technicolor baryons,” said Pinkie.

“I see,” said Twilight. “Will there be another big accelerator build here in the future?”

Vector Gauge Bison looked a little downcast. “We would love to host another big particle physics experiment on American soil,” he said. “But it doesn't look like the Department of Energy will fund it. But any future project will be a global collaboration, and wherever it is build, we will be involved.”

The herd all nodded in agreement.

“We'd better go for lunch,” said Twilight. “Are there any good restaurants near here?”

The buffalo exchanged glances.

“They don't have a great selection for vegetarians,” said Goldstone Bison. “Come eat with us, we'll make you a decent hayburger.”

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Comments ( 13 )

“Like sleptons and squarks and technicolor baryons,” said Pinkie.

I love how these are actual concepts in particle physics that still sound like things Pinkie Pie made up on the spot. And she didn't even get to the neutralinos!

Shame about the funding, though... :ajsleepy:

Unfortunately, the USA turned its back on Science, due to the pressure of the CreaTards (flat/young-Earth geocentric creationists). The last gasp was the SuperConducting SuperCollider (SCSC) which we started in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, the CreaTards cancelled it the early 1990s while under construction with 17 shafts were sunk and 23.5 km of tunnel were bored already by late 1993. The SCSC would have worked at 5X the energies of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and would have become operational a decade before the LHC.

Unfortunately, the USA turned its back on Science, due to the pressure of the CreaTards (flat/young-Earth geocentric creationists). The last gasp was the SuperConducting SuperCollider (SCSC) which we started in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, the CreaTards cancelled it the early 1990s while under construction with 17 shafts were sunk and 23.5 km of tunnel were bored already by late 1993. The SCSC would have worked at 5X the energies of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and would have become operational a decade before the LHC.

Dont forget the tenuous link to Majorana Anyons. :pinkiecrazy:

Also, the Chief Bison is a Vector Gauge? Sigh, I really need to get those new periodic tables, E8 maps showing all the gluons, quarks, colours, spins, charges, which have been shown to be elements of the single 8 bit generator which has 240 variations, and can be shown to be various braids.

Another line of research is looking at particles as being knots, such as trefoils, but they would be knots of energy floating on a vaccuum foam, therefore saying the Aether is correct, in a way.

If you thought the arguments and newspaper fears of CERN making blackholes were a problem, just imagine if it was actully happeneing on US soil, never mind that cosmic rays a million times times the power, and supposdly far more than a million times more capable of making a black hole hit the planet every single day.

Im wondering how many cosmic ray showers are caused by the nano black hole explosive evapouration when the irion nucleus hits the atmosphere and collapses. :trollestia:

Writing about the CreaTards reminded me about Miss Malala Yousafzai cowinning the Nobel Prize for Peace with Mister Kailash Satyarthi:

The Taliban (the CreaTards reminded me about the Taliban) banned educating girls. Miss Malala Yousafzai not only rejected the ban but blogged about getting an education. A Taliban shot her 3 times, nearly killing her.

She would make a great feature for your blog. She is an human Twilight Sparkle:

Both Miss Malala Yousafzai and Twilight Sparkle are EggHeads fighting evil monsters. She deserves a blogpost. She is a true heroine.

I remember my visit to Fermilab... :twilightsmile:

It really, truly is a beautiful place. A perfect harmony between nature and technology, art and science. Sitting in the atrium of Wilson Hall is quite the site. Not many places have an indoor garden, and something like around a dozen stories of open space.. on the inside of the building.

Pretty proud my state gets to play a part in the neutrino experiment. Old iron mines will do a pretty good job blocking very nearly anything BUT a neutrino!

And yeah... I got pictures of the herd there! :pinkiehappy:

2525905
Some academic disciplines go for elegant terminology, with Latin and Greek roots... Particle physics, however, has always taken a more Pinkie Pie approach.

2525920
To be fair, the SSC was probably cancelled more out of fear of budget overruns than the creatards. The particle physicists I have spoken to, who were involved in the project, all said that while it would have been awesome, it was an overambitious, poorly managed project. It marked the end of an era when we could get whatever funding we asked for, just because of the cold war, and the fear that the Soviets would invent the quark bomb first.

2526085
I love Fermilab too. :twilightsmile:

At first it was thought there were just three flavors of quark: up, down and strange. But we have since discovered the charm, bottom and top quarks.

This never fails to make me giggle.

Higgs Bison

I'm dying :rainbowlaugh:

The rest of the blog was amazing, as usual, but this PUN, oh my GOD....

2526990 How did the quark greet the other quark at the nightclub?

Charmed, you top or bottom?

I love those bison names! :pinkiehappy: :twilightsmile:

“They don't like to get in the way,” whispered Pinkie to Twilight. “The Fluttershy of particles.”

This is my favorite thing

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