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London built a new paralympic LHC collider

The opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London was apparently a cool event.

At the beginning of this 4-minute preview, you may listen to a 70-year-old athlete, Dr Stephen Hawking, who also talks about another hobby of his, the search for a theory of everything:

His audience included Her Majesty the Queen, Boris the Mayor, and 62,000 similar closet physics fans.

But Dr Stephen Hawking is far from being the last piece of physics you could have found in the ceremony.

Well, I doubt that too many TRF readers will find 4 hours to watch the whole ceremony:

Hawking starts to talk at 7:45 in the video above and then again at 15:05 and then again at 3:24:49 (about the parameters of the LHC). At 16:00 or so, you may see a magnified Brief History of Time, a king size Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and an oversized Newton's apple, too. A diverse company. :-)

But the first, local-choreographer-dominated 20 minutes are interesting enough because the stadium reconstructs the July 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson.

What tools do you need to reproduce the Large Hadron Collider at a stadium and find the Higgs boson? It turns out that a Czech patent specifically designed for opening Olympic ceremonies, namely the umbrellas, are the key.


This picture of the Higgs boson discovery appears around 17:35 of the video above.

The official CERN public website explains that a spherical array of silver umbrellas is physically equivalent to the Higgs boson; it's the first time I learned about this new kind of a duality. (The duality is only exact if the 2007 song by Rihanna about the umbrella \(\ell_R^+ \ell_R^- \ell_R^+\ell_R^-\) plays at the same moment; yes, Rihanna is an expert in production of right-handed leptons.)

There was also a giant umbrella in the middle representing the Big Bang; it became an interstellar cloud of dust around 18:35, as the accompanying dark-age songs and narrators' comments clarified. They chose quotes from Isaac Newton's Principia as lyrics for the song, a good choice. ;-)

If they hadn't forgotten about another Czech patent, the wellies, they could have discovered supersymmetry, too. Too bad: they did forget. ;-)

It seems as though athletes need a physical handicap in order to learn some cutting-edge physics.

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snail feedback (2) :

reader Dilaton said...

Thanks Lumo for the funny description of some scenes of the opening ceremony.
What Stephen Hawking said sounded very cool and peeking in into the video was a valid method to cheer myself up (coming from physics SE) ;-)

reader Zbynek said...

Yes ceremony was quite good - more worring is that prof. Hawking (or at least his voice computer) has started adverising for Volkswagen on UK Classic FM radio - I believe they also have a online service if you really want to hear - seems like there is not enough money in physics alone....