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Posts Tagged ‘checkTheDate’

A phrase from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet states: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” This cannot be any further from the truth in the corporate world. The name of a corporation is its face, so setting a brand requires a lot of work and money. But what happens when something goes wrong?  The way to deal with corporate problems often involves re-branding, changing the name and the face of the corporation.  It works as customers usually do not check the history of a company before buying its products or using its services. It simply works.

With the Universities today run according to the corporate model, it was only a matter of time until re-branding came to the academic world. And leading Universities, like Harvard, seem to be embracing the model. Since 2013 article in Harvard Crimson, big Universities became a focus of investigations of many leading newspapers and politicians. Harvard, in particular, has been a focus of a brewing controversy. The University with the largest endowment of any university in the world, has got its name associated with the person who was not, in fact, the founder of Harvard University. As reported, in the very recent internal investigation by Harvard Crimson, John Harvard cannot be the founder of the school, because the Massachusetts Colony’s vote had come two years prior to Harvard’s bequest (compare this to Ezra Cornell’s founding of Cornell University). This led several prominent Massachusetts politicians to suggest that the University will be returned to the ownership by the Commonwealth with its name changed to University of Massachusetts, Cambridge. “We have a fantastic University system here in Massachusetts, with the flagship campus in Amherst,” said one of the prominent politicians who preferred not to be named, “Any University in the World would be proud to be a part of it.”

Returning a prominent private University to the ownership by the State is highly unusual nowadays and is probably highly specific to New England. With tightening budgets many states seek to privatize the Universities to remove them from their budget. For instance, there is a talk that a large public Midwestern school, Wayne State University, will soon change its owners and its name. Two prominent figures, W. Rooney and W. Gretzky, are rumored to work on acquiring the University and re-branding it as simply Wayne’s University. And the changes are rumored go even further. An external company Haleburton has already completed an assessment of the University’s strengths. The company noted WSU’s worldwide reputation in chemistry, physics and medicine and its Carnegie I research status, and recommended that the school should concentrate its efforts on graduating hockey, football, basketball and baseball players. “We are preparing our graduates to have highly successful careers. What job in the United States brings more money than the NFL or NHL player?” a member of WSU’s Academic Senate has been quoted in saying. “We are all excited about the change and looking forward to what else future would bring us.”

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After a three week review CERN Director General, Rolf Dieter Heuer has announced that the LHC will not have another run and that the international laboratory will be closing its doors to science. The revelation follows an intense week of discussion, analysis and rumour mongering.

While deleting some old files from the myriad of hard drives at the CERN Computing Centre, IT support found some data nobody had seen before. “It was just sitting there on a few hard drives in the corner” said Linus Distro, from IT Support. “So I told the analysts to take a look at it and the rest is history!”

The single event that definitely proved the existence of supersymmetry (BBC)

The single event that definitely proved the existence of supersymmetry (BBC)

It turns out the rest is history, because these few exobytes of data held the answers to all of the open questions of physics. After discovering a staggering 327 new particles the physicists managed to prove the existence of supersymmetry, extra-dimensions, dark matter, micro black holes, technicolor, and top quark condendsates. But not string theory, that’s just silly.

Theorist John Ellis commented “I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime. I mean, I expected to see supersymmetry and dark matter, but now we have technicolor too. It’s quite simply amazing. We’ve been sitting on this data for years without even knowing it.”

Due to take on the role of Director General in 2016, Fabiola Gianotti said “Now that physics is finished I’m not sure what to do. I was expecting a long and industrious career at the lab, now I can retire early and buy a nice beach house near Napoli.”

The situation for unviersitities across the world is less clear. PhD students are expected to have up to seven theses each to cope with all the extra discoveries. Professors are starting to panic, trying to save as much of their funding as possible. There has been a sudden increase in the number of conferences in Hawai’i, Cuba, and the Bahamas, as postdocs squeeze as much opportunity out of the final weeks of their careers as possible.

The ALICE Control Room will be repurposed into a massive Call of Duty multiplayer facilitiy (ALICE Matters)

The ALICE Control Room will be repurposed into a massive Call of Duty multiplayer facilitiy (ALICE Matters)

“The atmosphere on site is incredible!” shouted one slightly inebriated physicist, “People say we should measure everything down to the 6th decimal place, but to be honest we’ll probably just stop after four.”

Famous atheist Richard Dawkins as leapt on the opportunity to prove the non existence of god. “If those files answer all the questions physics has left then surely it proves there is no god.” he tweeted last week. And he’s not alone. Thousands of people across the globe are finally realising that with no questions left to answer, they are completely intellectually and spiritually satisfied for the first time in history, and are busy validating their own world views.

Among the top answers are the following: Schrödinger’s cat is alive and well and living in Droitwich, god plays dice on Tuesdays, light is a particle and a wave and Canadian (and hopes you’re having a good day), electrons are strawberry flavoured, Leibniz and Newton were good friend who discovered calculus together, and if you could ride a beam of light it would be totally freaking awesome.

While the phycisists may not have much to do anymore the number of visitors has increased by a factor 3500% in the past two weeks. People from all over the world are descending upon CERN to experience extra dimensions and parallel universes. For 20 CHF a family can visit a parallel universe of their choosing for up to two weeks. Head of CERN Visits Mick Storr said “It’s a great time to visit CERN. Finally we know where we came from, where we’re going, and what we’re made of. Now I just need to work out what to have for dinner.”

Early crowds grather to see the creation of the daily 14:00 wormhole at CMS. (CERN)

Early crowds grather to see the creation of the daily 14:00 wormhole at CMS. (CERN)

It’s unclear what will happen next. There are certainly questions about how best to use the extra dimensions, but the biggest problem is a social one. Nobody knows what will happen to the thousands of physicists who will have to re-enter the “real world”. It’s a scary place for some, and physicists lack basic transferable skills such as burger flipping and riot control.

Whatever happens, everyone will look back at the Winter of 2015 as most exciting year in science history. This year’s Nobel Prize ceremony will be a complicated matter indeed.

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