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Zoe Louise Matthews | ASY-EOS | UK

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Julie Peasley’s “Particle Zoo”

This week at CERN, Julie Peasley of LA came to tell us all about her subatomic-particle plushies – a way to make the abstract world of particle physics come to life. I love these adorable toys! They also have a facebook application, which is where I first found out about them.

Each one has been carefully designed to reflect the kind-of personality of the particle it represents. They are stuffed to have different relative weights depending on the masses of the particles. The quarks are triangular and point up or down depending on their position in the flavour heirarchy – a pair of each for each generation: down and up, strange and charm, bottom and top; so you can be reminded of their charges!

Higgs boson, right, and Dark matter, left, spotted at CERN! Heehee...

Higgs boson, right, and Dark matter, left, spotted at CERN! Heehee...

The charm quark has a charming rose on his collar, the strange quark (my favourite, and the most relevant to my analysis) is, well, strange! The neutrinos have black masks and look very ninja-like, which I think really reflects their elusive nature, and the W boson is double sided, reminding us that it comes in a positively and negatively charged form. You can even buy large proton and neutron plushies with three quarks and a gluon encased and zipped up safely inside them. If you buy the full set, you receive a booklet describing each of the particles in more detail.

Strange quark plushie!

Strange Quark Plushie!

All of these toys are handmade by Julie and her helper, Laura. So when you place your millions of orders as I am about to, spare a thought for them with their hands full. Thanks greatly Julie, this is truly inspired (and a great gift idea!)

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