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Adam Yurkewicz | USLHC | USA

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CERN-ites

During the Tom Hanks and Ron Howard visit to promote Angels and Demons at CERN were two Entertainment Tonight broadcasts (one last night and one tonight).  I just watched the one from last night online, and I thought it was pretty good.  Maybe my standards have been lowered after seeing so many bad accounts of CERN.  A few other physicists I talked to did cringe.  A few comments:
  • Tom Hanks has dubbed us “CERN-ites”
  • Tom Hanks asked “With the supercollider, can you reheat a cup of coffee?”

I respond, “Have you seen how much coffee the people here drink?  Do you think the coffee ever gets cold?”

  • Ron Howard said “Everythings’s practical, they’re not trying to put on a show here.”

Very true.  Maybe a polite way of saying that CERN is messy, but we can take it as a compliment.

  • Entertainment Tonight described antimatter as “a potentially volatile and lethal substance”, and CERN as “the top secret location where the antimatter is made”
Now I know this wasn’t a serious piece about CERN, but it’s frustratingly common for people commenting about CERN to suggest the research is somehow dangerous or has something to do with weapons. CERN is not at all top secret.  Anyone can visit, even movie stars!  All results are made public.  As for antimatter, nothing like what happens in the Angels and Demons book could happen in real life.  See CERN’s web page on Angels and Demons for some clarifications.
All in all, I suppose it’s good publicity for CERN and particle physics.  And it was a fun diversion from the long wait before collisions.
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