Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Yes, Particle Physics Is That Weird

A new comic from xkcd accurately illustrates how weird particle collider physics is in a way that the average person can understand.

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The most delicious exotic fruit discovered this way is the strawberry banana. Sadly, it's only stable in puree form, so it's currently limited to yogurt and smoothies, but they're building a massive collider in Europe to search for a strawberry banana that can be eaten whole.
Actually, plain old organic chemistry is almost as remarkable. One of my most memorable high school experiences (while I was a high school student in New Zealand) was producing esters from noxious seeming chemicals in the lab that smelled exactly like familiar fruits and other smells, because those smells, at their most essential levels, are these chemicals.

For example, pineapple smell is partially allyl hexanoate and ethyl butyrate is a chemical in the smell of pineapple, strawberry and banana.

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