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Seth Zenz | Imperial College London | UK

View Blog | Read Bio

CERM Start-up

No, that isn’t a typo; I’m talking about the activation of a completely different machine. This one is cheaper, and the practical applications are more obvious, but you can see it doesn’t work quite as quickly as the LHC did:

It has exactly the same probability of destroying the earth that the LHC does.

This excellent video was pointed out to me by someone from the Accelerator and Beams department; his enthusiasm should come as no surprise, because coffee is a major part of the institutional culture here at CERN. We’re powered by it when we’re tired. We drink it when we have informal chats with our colleagues. There are many machines and kinds of coffee to suit all different tastes and nationalities — and yes, you’d better believe there are international coffee issues. For example, if you’re buying coffee and an Italian asks for an espresso, you have to know to buy what the cafeteria coffee machines call a “ristretto” — which apparently just means “small, dense espresso” — because that’s how they make espresso in Italy. As an American, I miss my Venti Double Chip Mocha Frappes, but alas, the coffee machines don’t make those under any name.


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  • aw

    Why do you just show a summary in the RSS feed? I hereby threaten to stop reading the blog if this continues.

  • Morry

    The usual round of technical difficulties, I see.

    When can we expect to see the first results of a successful test?

    Is there any knowing what will happen should the “perfect coffee” be created?

  • Nonnormalizable


  • Might be because I’m using Opera Mini, but I can’t find any link to a video.

    Guessing CERM stands for something like “Caffeine-based Energy Replenishment Machine?” (You say you’re powered by coffee; this web browser says it’s “powered by Java”, but the phone battery still runs down just as fast, so I’m not convinced…)

  • admin

    aw, the settings have been changed to show the full text in RSS. Hope you stay with us!

  • Hi Tim. It’s an embedded YouTube video. It’s disappointing your browser doesn’t at least replace the embedding with a link!

  • I’ve just discovered that in the RSS feed, I do get a picture now, anyway, so that’s something 🙂

    And for the record, I like the feed using summaries, because of how I use it (on my phone), so I suppose there’s a range of preferences. It’s easier to find my way around.

    Agree re browser – hopefully they’ll add something in the next version. It’s a small Java app that displays pages processed and compressed by their server.

  • Karl O

    Missed opportunity: Should have called it dihydrogen monoxide instead of water. Sounds much more ominous. 😀

  • WARNING: satire alert. A more plausible mechanism by which the LHC could destroy the Earth… it does involve aliens though, and they have to live less than 10 light-years away. Hmmm…

    1. Aliens develop Scary Weaponry based on abstruse physics. 2. Alien public responds with fear of all things scientific. 3. Alien astrobiologists discover existence of humanity. 4. Alien astrolinguists decode radio/TV signals, and learn of plans for the LHC. …

  • … 5. Alien media go wild, reporting that the Earth is a dangerous planet whose inhabitants are doing an experiment which will destroy the universe. 6. Science-hostile alien public believe it. 7. Alien politicians, keen to be seen saving the universe, decide to Do Something About It. 8. Scary Weaponry is used to destroy the Earth.

    OK, it’s science fiction… but still more plausible than the other scenarios, I reckon!

  • S. P. Robertson

    Thank you for your most informative explanation of CERM. I will give a 8.5 for production of the complexity of the project, and 8.6 for the cotainment of the coffee.