I don’t usually get to spill the beans on a big discovery like this, but this time, I DO!
CERN Had Dark Energy All Along!!
That’s right. That mysterious energy making up ~68% of the universe was being used all along at CERN! Being based at CERN now, I’ve had a first hand glimpse into the dark underside of Dark Energy. It all starts at the Crafted Refilling of Empty Mugs Area (CREMA), pictured below.
Researchers and personnel seem to stumble up to these stations at almost all hours of the day, looking very dreary and dazed. They place a single cup below the spouts, and out comes a dark and eerie looking substance, which is then consumed. Some add a bit of milk for flavor, but all seem perkier and refreshed after consumption. Then they disappear from whence they came. These CREMA stations seem to be everywhere, from control rooms to offices, and are often found with groups of people huddled around them. In fact, they seem to exert a force on all who use them, keeping them in stable orbits about the stations.
In order to find out a little bit more about this mysterious substance and its dispersion, I asked a graduating student, who wished to remain unnamed, a little bit about their experiences:
Q. How much of this dark stuff do you consume on a daily basis?
A. At least one cup in the morning to fuel up, I don’t think I could manage to get to lunchtime without that one. Then multiple other cups distributed over the day, depending on the workload. It always feels like they help my thinking.
Q. Do you know where it comes from?
A. We have a machine in our office which takes capsules. I’m not 100% sure where those capsules are coming from, but they seem to restock automatically, so no one ever asked.
Q. Have you been hiding this from the world on purpose?
A. Well our stock is important to our group, if we would just share it with everyone around we could run out. And no one of us can make it through the day without. We tried alternatives, but none are so effective.
Q. Do you remember the first time you tried it?
A. Yes, they hooked me on it in university. From then on nothing worked without!
Q. Where does CERN get so much of it?
A. I never thought about this question. I think I’m just happy that there is enough for everyone here, and physicist need quite a lot of it to work.
In order to gauge just how much of this Dark Energy is being consumed, I studied the flux of people from the cafeteria as a function of time with cups of Dark Energy. I’ve compiled the results into the Dark Energy Consumption As Flux (DECAF) plot below.
As the DECAF plot shows, there is a large spike in consumption, particularly after lunch. There is a clear peak at times after 12:20 and before 13:10. Whether there is an even larger peak hiding above 13:10 is not known, as the study stopped due to my advisor asking “shouldn’t you be doing actual work?”
There is an irreducible background of Light Energy in the cups used for Dark Energy, particularly of the herbal variety. Fortunately, there is often a dangly tag hanging off of the cup to indicate to others that they are not using the precious Dark Energy supply, and provide a clear signal for this study to eliminate the background.
While illuminating, this study still does not uncover the exact nature of Dark Energy, though it is clear that it is fueling research here and beyond.