March 22, 2005

Fun with Physics

Physicists have all the fun.

Perhaps you've read recent stories about the work going on at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in Upton, NY. The stories have been pretty hard to miss. First, scientists claim they've created a miniature black hole! One week later, scientists at the same facility say they've created particles that haven't existed since the birth of the universe - a "fun-sized" version of the Big Bang! Yeah, it's a non-stop party at the RHIC, and, as usual, only "top physicists" are invited.

But what if regular people like you and me want to make a black hole or some other sciencey space phenomenon? Sadly, these Relativistic Heavy Ion Colliders aren't like the drive-thru at Micky D's - you can't just stop by for a Black Hole to go. There's no Value Meal featuring Gluon Nuggets or a Spicy McQuarkwich. The science community has spoken: if you are not some highfalutin university professor, your adventures in physics should be restricted to playing with tacky executive desk ornaments.

CtS respectfully disagrees.

You don't need fancy equipment or training to advance scientific knowledge. If modern culture has taught us anything, it has taught us that people who know something are no better than people who know nothing - and people who know nothing haven't learned anything from modern culture anyway. Anyway... Circling the Square thinks everyone should be able to create black holes and miniature universes just like the big boys do. And at a fraction of the cost!

If you scan through the descriptions of the RHIC experiments, you will find that they all center around taking pieces of gold and flinging them at each other really fast. How hard can that possibly be? Now these scientists, in their typical stick-in-the-mud fashion, have elected to smash up only the smallest imaginable gold particles. The result: the smallest imaginable black holes. And they only exist for the smallest imaginable amount of time! "Oooh, we're scientists... look how CAUTIOUS and METHODICAL we are!" La-dee-frickin-da. We recommend taking large hunks of gold and bashing them together. The bigger the better! Go to the pawn shop, get a couple of medallions or tennis bracelets. Track down any washed up rappers or pimps in your neighborhood - they probably have a few gold teeth they might be willing to part with for the sake of science. Or for cash.

Once you've collected the gold, you'll need to improvise a collision scenario. The best we've been able to come up with involves two fast cars and two adventurous drivers. The plan is quite simple: stick one piece of gold onto the bumper of each car, find a long, flat stretch of road somewhere... you can probably figure out the rest.

Now, at this point, some of you might be thinking: "Well, this experiment sounds both fun and educational... but isn't it a little bit dangerous?". Good question. The answer is no. Sure, we are telling you to drive an automobile into another automobile at top speed. Under normal gravitronic conditions, this would be extremely dangerous. But remember, when the two gold plated bumpers collide, the result is going to be the creation of a black hole! Black holes, in turn, create totally different gravitronic conditions, and will probably put out some inertial dampening field that will cause both cars to bounce harmlessly off each other. Or something. And as for the black hole itself, that's not dangerous at all. Between 1978 and 1995, 37 Americans died from vending machine accidents. VENDING MACHINE ACCIDENTS! How many people died from black holes in the same period? Only 35. And among those 35, 20 of them died when a camera rig collapsed on the set of FOX's When Time-Space Anomalies Attack, so that hardly counts.

Don't let the so-called "professional scientists" hog all the glory. With the right attitude - and a total disregard for state and federal law - ANYONE can make the next great scientific discovery!

Could that anyone be you?

Posted by scola at 12:42 AM | Comments (1)