PRINCETON Dec 20 – A dramatic accident in the library shocked the Physics Department of Princeton University. An eight foot high bookshelf, full of editions of “Physical Review D”, unexpectedly crumbled after faculty member and renowned string theorist Andrew M. placed the most recent volume on the top shelf. The professor had no chance when he was suddenly submerged by about six tons of paper and died before rescue forces arrived. Tragically, the weighty 1200-pages volume of PRD contained his latest article “Holographic Walking Technicolor and Stability of Techni-Branes” in which Professor M. had demonstrated that “a large bulk cut-off could destabilize oscillations”. It appears that the paper was the straw which broke the camel’s back.
After preliminary investigations, bookshelf manufacturers Popper & Kuhn Ltd. (Slogan: “Putting research on a solid basis”) stated that their products were designed for “normal science” and denied any responsibility for “shaky constructions piled on top of each other” that had not been subjected to any experimental stability tests for many years.
In an initial statement, the Dean of the Physics Faculty emphasized how differently science and religion deal with matters of life and death. He acknowledged the important contributions of Professor M. to the theory of brane solutions in parallel worlds had demonstrated that events of the above kind represent a null set in a string landscape containing 10500 worlds, in most of which Professor M. is still alive. These words were perceived as providing much consolation for everybody.
STOCKHOLM Dec 11, 2013 – Yesterday’s ceremony in honor of the 2013 Nobel Laureates was overshadowed by a major protocol incident. Soon after the main dish had been served (Coupole de turbot farcie de langoustines accompagnée d’une tartelette au fromage blanc), the small talk of His Majesty King Carl Gustav XVI with physics laureate Peter Higgs unexpectedly acquired an irritated tone. According to earwitnesses, the King of Sweden had asked whether Prof. Higgs had ever seen the particle named after him. The Scottish laureate conceded that he hadn’t even seen a particle accelerator from the inside until 2012, adding, “I have no clue what is going on in the lab.”
“I am familiar with people who don’t know what they are talking about, but this is too much,” the monarch reportedly grumbled, “let alone if Alfred Nobel had seen any benefit for mankind here.”
Joe Incandela, spokesperson of one of CERN’s experiments and seated next to the king’s table, hastily intervened to mitigate the royal alienation by sketching what “to see” actually meant in the case of a Higgs Boson. Shortly after, a confused Carl Gustav left the table saying, “I prefer to see my serial tonight. So long, you guys.” Incandela later declared, “I think he was simply asking too much. Frankly, I didn’t understand the data analysis either. But it has been checked by so many people. Unfortunately, we couldn’t invite them all.”
After the monarch had left the event, glumness spread in the Stockholm city hall, with some occasional whispering about whether anybody would have been able to explain better. Incandela’s colleague, Fabiola Gianotti, while nervously playing with her menu card printed in Comic Sans, could barely hide her frustration when bemoaning: “It is well-known that our collaborations have developed the swarm intelligence which is needed to see the Higgs Boson. If anyone could understand, it wouldn’t be such a great scientific revolution. And contrary to the theory folks, we have traveled to this cold country to at least get a nice dinner. The King shouldn’t have been so petty to want to understand why he was here.”
This site is called CERN offline, because despite all the information at cern.ch, the biggest laboratory in the world with the most expensive experiment ever conducted by humankind IS actually offline – if you consider repeatability, a basic requirement of scientific methodology. None of CERN’s results can independently reproduced by checking the raw data. More about this in my book The Higgs Fake – How Particle Physicists Fooled the Nobel Committee.