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Rob Knoops | CERN / University of Leuven | Belgium

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CERN Christmas Play

 

Note on the door separating the recently renewed HR department and the theory department.

Note on the door separating the recently renewed HR department and the theory department.

It’s that time of the year again, the time for CERN’s theory group’s yearly christmas play.
If’ you’d wander around in CERN’s corridors and happen to pass the theory department, you can notice the remarkably high concentration of jokes flying around in the corridor. See for example the note on the door separating the (recently renewed) HR department and the (still looking like a lab in the 60s) theory department.

Of course I am not the first one to blog about the CERN christmas play, see for example here or here. In fact, this silly play has a tradition that goes 30 years back. I could find some records of it on the cern document server going back to 1984. I didn’t have the time to check them all out, but let me know if you can spot any famous physicists in their young days, I am sure there are a lot!

 

Invitation for the 'Theory christmas party', hinting this year's theme as a quest for the holy grail and a reference to CERN's official 'thank you  drinks' called 'Bosons & more'.

Invitation for the ‘Theory christmas party’, hinting this year’s theme as the quest for the holy grail and a reference to CERN’s official ‘thank you drinks’ called ‘Bosons & more’. The king’s head has been replaced by the head of our director general, and the knights by the spokespersons of the biggest experiments.

 

 

Anyway, back to this year’s play. Each year, a group of theorists gathers together during their lunch breaks for about a week to practice their script, written and directed by John Ellis, to perform after the christmas dinner, on an improvised stage, set up in the main cafeteria.

The theme of the play varies every year (see last year’s Bond themed one), and this year there was chosen a Monty Python parody (I love Monty Python) on a quest for the (un)holy grail.

I will post the video here as soon as it is available (which may take until after the christmas break). In the meanwhile, here are some of the highlights (picture credits go to Mike Struik):

The scene shifters practiced a different silly walk for each scene shift. It was amazing to see how good they got at this.

The scene shifters practiced a different silly walk for each scene shift. It was amazing to see how good they got at this. Note the -not so representative- version of the LHC in the back.

 

Peasant

Referencing the oppressed peasant sketch . The theorists/peasants have no idea that something like a DG (director general) exists. CERN’s DG, Rolf Heuer has become quite a public figure in the last years.

Epic appearance of Professor Ellis as God, explaining 'Rolfur', king (DG) of the CERNois, to look for the unholy grail of particle physics, namely 'dark matter'

Epic appearance of Professor Ellis as God.

 

 

Myself in the middle as an ex-perimentalist, referring to the dead parrot sketch.

Myself in the middle as an ex-perimentalist, referring to the dead parrot sketch. We truly could not find a real experimentalist willing to play a role ;)

John Ellis made an epic appearance playing ‘God’, explaining ‘Rolfur’, king (DG) of the CERNois, to look for the unholy grail of particle physics, namely dark matter and dark energy.
Now the Higgs boson is found, it seems  that our DG tries to promote the search for dark matter as one of CERN’s most important tasks.
Unfortunately for CERN, we are not the only one looking for dark matter and there are many ways to search for it without the need of a particle accelerator. In fact, we would only be able to detect it here, if dark matter is made up of WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles). A recent post that I particularly liked on this can be found here.

Sir LHC-alot being wooed by the damsels.

Sir LHC-alot being wooed by the damsels.

 

A French guy defending the bridge to stockholm, trying to prevent sir LHCalot to claim a Nobel Prize.

A French guy defending the bridge to stockholm, trying to prevent sir LHCalot from claim a Nobel Prize.

Video will appear soon!

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3 Responses to “CERN Christmas Play”

  1. Lane says:

    Viva la bang!

  2. Uncle Al says:

    The Higgs must be the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. Nuclear power plants, beware your rabbits!

  3. Merten Pearson says:

    Video! Please!! Must have video!!!

    and btw, Thanks!!

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