Higgs Boson a la CERN

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It’s a commonly held misconception that the creation of a Higgs Boson particle is the province only of the professional particle chef. But it’s quite simple to rustle one up at home. Here’s one of my favourite recipes.

Higgs Boson a la CERN (feeds 0)
For this recipe you will need:
Everything You Thought You Knew About Physics
A Window
Most Of Switzerland
A Great Big Bag Of Cash
1 Large Hadron Collider
1 Linear Particle Accelerator
1 Proton Synchrotron Booster
1 Super Proton Synchrotron
1 Super-Duper Synchromesh Tronatron Da-Doo-Ron-Ron Dustbuster
6 Particle Detectors: ATLAS ((A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS), TOTEM (TOTal cross section, Elastic scattering and diffraction dissociation Measurement), ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment), BOB (Big Old Bugger), CAROL (Crap AcROnym Lunacy), TED (TEDious list of stuff)
Some Particles
A Rubber Spatula
A Lot Of Very Clever Men Probably Wearing White Coats

1. Take Everything You Thought You Knew About Physics.
2. Throw it out of the window. Make sure window is open first.
3. Make sure you have your Great Big Bag Of Cash ready.
4. Take Most Of Switzerland. You don’t need to be that careful with it – it stands up to rough treatment, especially if you dip into your Great Big Bag Of Cash.
5. Dig up Most Of Switzerland and build a very big Circle Line.
6. Install your Large Hadron Collider in the Circle Line you have built.
7. Fire that baby up.
8. Oh.
9. Ah.
10. Magnetic quench in your superconducting bending magnets. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
11. Fire that baby down.
12. Set aside for a year or so to cool.
13. Fire it up again.
14. You need to prepare your particles for injection into the Large Hadron Collider. First pass them through the Linear Particle Accelerator, then through the Proton Synchrotron Booster, then through the Super Proton Synchrotron, and finally through the Super-Duper Synchromesh Tronatron Da-Doo-Ron-Ron Dustbuster.
15. Now the particles are ready for collision. This is the fun bit.
16. Crank ‘em up and smash ‘em together. You are looking for a force of up to 7 TeV.
15. Don’t ask me what TeV means. I thought you were the particle physicist. It’s a lot anyway.
16. At this point there is a danger that the particles may curdle and that the entire known universe will be sucked into a black hole, meaning the end of existence as we know it. There is no need to panic, though. Simply take your spatula and carefully fold the particles back into the collider. Adding another egg yolk may help stabilise it, too.
17. You should now have a Higgs Boson particle. As it will only be in existence for a fraction of a nanosecond, serve immediately.


  1. Actually 7TeV is energy not force. You have to multiply it by mass or add them up or something to get the force.
    7TeV is, according to Delia Smith’s complete physic’s course is “Really quite a lot indeed”. Coincidentally its the amount of garlic she puts in her holandaise sauce. Particles weigh “not very much at all”.
    So combining “really quite a lot indeed” of energy with “not very much at all mass” you end up with “a boringly normal amount of force”.
    Its all explained in a video:

    Please be aware that this video has been assessed by the BBPC and given a rating of 1.9. This means that whilst the film contains no nudity, violence or other adult themes, it does contain a high quantity of dancing physicists. Parents are, therefore, advised not to show it to small children or indeed anyone else, ever.

  2. I’ve never been that good at the whole folding an egg in to stablise it thing. What do you get without the egg? Other than black hole sucking sized universal destruction, that is?
    I have to say, you’re building up a nice repertoire of music, science and food. Get all three into one blog and you’re rocking
    oh and LOLOLOLOLOL

  3. Yours is, if I might say so, the “microwave” version of the Higgs Boson recipe. The slow cook way of rustling up a Higgs Boson is to wait for a spontaneous proton decay. To do this: (i) dig a hole in the ground; (ii) put a large tank in the hole with a chair next to it; (iii) fill the tank with water; (iv) sit on the chair and watch the tank of water for a very, very long time; (v) no I mean for a very very very long time, possibly for ever.

  4. Yummy. But I query point 2. If you have the window open you don’t get a big bang when everything hits the glass on the way out. Just a theoretical short cut but might save a lot of hassle and brainpower.

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