Large Hardon Collider

November 20th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 33 Comments »

Since the Large Hardon Collider is in the news today, I thought I’d repost this golden gasser from April/yesteryear:


For anyone who mistakenly believed that Bad Science was about sophisticated commentary on the real science behind the media’s fantasies, here’s something to put you straight. This may strike you as the geek equivalent of looking up “arse” in the dictionary. I believe, however, that examples of serious documents in which hadron is mispelt “hardon” are immensely, hilariously funny. This may be a minority opinion.

The discovery of the hardon proved to be the most significant discovery in

Although the quarks could hide themselves within a hardon, they could not …

The production of the three jets in hadron-hardon collision is the first …

the difference between the final hardon energy and the initial target mass. …

Digital hardon calorimeter is a possible solution for this …

Predictions for hardon spectra at the LHC with constraints from RHIC;
Poster: Tuomas Lappi, …, baryon,

939.56MeV, neutral, decays weakly in 885.7s as n → pe … is a neutral
meson with no lighter hardon, so it decays to γγ … –

Charmed Hardon Spectroscopy At
File Format: Microsoft Powerpoint 97 – View as HTML
P-Wave Baryon. Lc* Lc p. RK Kutschke. Frontiers in Contemporary
Physics, 2001. 24. Selection of Lc for Sc++ and Sc0 Studies …

“Observation of an exotic baryon with S=+1 in
photoproduction from …Experimental particle physics; photo
reactions, hardon structure,
exotic hadrons. …

temperature dependence of hardon masses is also a …

(McLerran,. Venugopalan). “Coherence of Hardon Production.”

one has to make sure that the contribution of the
on-shell charmed-hardon …

Japan joint Workshop on: Probing
Hardon Structure with Polarized Photons, …

low energy hardon physics. To have finite-energy configurations, …

A possible impact on azimuthal anisotropy at lower hardon momenta, …

If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

33 Responses

  1. Pedantica said,

    May 9, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    I’m going to make a psychic prediction: the future of this thread is destined to contain a lot of puns.

  2. Fyse said,

    May 9, 2006 at 7:08 pm

    Excellent stuff. Particularly the bit about a target mass. On a purely ‘comedy names’ basis, how about the eminent Physicist Bogliubov? And of course his particle, the bogliubon. Comedy gold. (Well, it always seemed funny in lectures…)

  3. Frank said,

    May 9, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    At least one of these hits discovered fun with puns first:
    Possibly the most massive, energetic, and powerful particles in the universe, the hardon exhibits an incredibly long decay time. While most particles decay after a few microseconds, the hardon tends to last 10-15 minutes. Hardons are formed by interactions of hitons (“sex” bosons), but can also be found in the presence of high energy partyons.

    Hardons can decay quickly when subjected to bombardment by negative leadons. When a hardon interaction occurs and a leadon is present, the hardon emits a lot of energy and emits a comeon (guilt boson) as seen in the diagram.

    (you guys with text browsers are really missing out)

    The hardon has a relatively common antiparticle, nominally called the tampon(footnote 4), which will annihilate with the hardon producing tremendous amounts of heat energy in process cosmologists call the “big lack of bang.” Energy emitted in this process is detectable only in erenkov counters.

    The discovery of the hardon proved to be the most significant discovery in recent particle physics. After the research team of Herzog, Walter, and Chandler made their discovery, they began work on a Sex-Death-Guilt Unification Theory. While their new theory has not been published, it has already made an impact on the scientific community, and hormone levels in labs around the world have soared to record levels.”

    And to think we trust you people with super-colliders.

  4. Tom P said,

    May 9, 2006 at 9:22 pm

    “The production of the three jets in hadron-hardon collision…”

    Three jets? Woah.


  5. Ben Goldacre said,

    May 9, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    you’re all rising to the challenge and i can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

  6. e pur si muove » Blog Archive » said,

    May 9, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    […] Bad Science talks about funny (rude) misspellings in the latest post with papers about hadronshardons. “Coherence of Hardon Production” is pretty funny. So are talks on quark-hardon transitions. […]

  7. Tom P said,

    May 9, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    “A water-cooled chopper module designated for the converter-equipment of the European Large Hardon Collider CERN in Geneva…”

  8. Pro-reason said,

    May 10, 2006 at 6:31 am

    See also

  9. Ben Goldacre said,

    May 10, 2006 at 8:35 am

    ah yes…

  10. DrKate said,

    May 10, 2006 at 10:49 am

    Teehee, nob gags! Makes me feel a little less guilty for giggling everytime some mentions the word ‘flange’ in the lab. You’d think after five years and a phd it would wear off……………

  11. Tristan said,

    May 10, 2006 at 11:23 am

    Sparkly, is that you?!?

  12. DrKate said,

    May 10, 2006 at 1:39 pm

    Aye, yes it is!

  13. Hanne said,

    May 10, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    DrKate– you’re not the only one who giggles! Mind you, I don’t have a phd nor a lab to giggle in…

  14. DrKate said,

    May 10, 2006 at 2:33 pm

    Don’t get me started! The funniest thing ever was when I was an undergraduate (Tristan should remember this) and the title of one of our quantum physics lectures was called “Penetration into the classically forbidden zones”……

  15. Tristan said,

    May 10, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    No Kate you’re wrong. The funniest thing ever involved a fart and a very silent undergrad physics lab. Oh how you laughed!

  16. DrKate said,

    May 10, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    lol! Yeah that was a absolute cracker!

  17. Max Sang said,

    May 10, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    I note you found these gems using the search term ‘hardon baryon’. If you omit the baryon bit, you get the geek equivalent of looking up ‘arse’ in the profanisaurus.

  18. Ben Goldacre said,

    May 10, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    this gentleman certainly has an unfortunate name for a man of the cloth.

  19. Mongrel said,

    May 11, 2006 at 8:10 am

    I’m surprised no ones’s mentioned the “Molecules with Silly names” site yet, ah well here you go

  20. Delster said,

    May 11, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    and all this goes to show that no matter how intelligent or well educated we still all appreciate a good smutty inuendo 🙂

  21. profnick said,

    May 13, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    In the interests of boring old fartdom I assume you meant “Cerenkov”, Frank?
    I liked the amusing molecule names and the first on the list reminded me of a chemist colleague many years ago. He was doing his PhD on aromaticity and was able to work in to his thesis the phrase ” of course all arsoles are aromatic”

  22. TimW said,

    November 20, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    Judging by this:

    if you’re investigating the high-energy hardon interaction, and you’re having trouble keeping it up, what do you use?…

  23. TimW said,

    November 20, 2006 at 9:01 pm

    …the Proza correction method.

    I didn’t know that was one of its side effects?

  24. stever said,

    November 20, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    im sure you posted that before you child


  25. edhollingum said,

    November 20, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    As a structural engineer I have to deal with flanges, members and erections every day.

    It hasn’t got old yet.

  26. fillo said,

    November 20, 2006 at 11:15 pm

    I may have had a small part (no pun intended) in the sudden rise (no pun intended) of this topic. If anyone could stop sniggering and lend me a hand (no pun…oh forget it) then I would appreciate any help with my question posed in the forum as to what the statement

    “each proton will pack as much punch as a 400-tonne train travelling at 120mph”

    in yesterday’s article means. If you’re interested, take a look at

  27. Teek said,

    November 21, 2006 at 8:54 am

    DrKate, i work with liquid chromatography and the columns we put together have a version of the following instructions:

    place upper end piece into flange – tighten nipple on flange, screw in end piece.

    oh my word how we laughed…

  28. Max Sang said,

    November 21, 2006 at 10:11 am

    fillo –

    It’s the grauniad, for God’s sake. Of course it’s riddled with errors.

    There are loads of protons in the beam – which means that the *total* energy of the stored beam is about a gigajoule, which is about as much a speeding train. This needs good cooling and a reliable beam dumping system that guarantees you won’t blow a hole in your expensive accelerator.

    I find it amazing that a science correspondent – especially one so predestined for a geeky career as to be named Mr Sample – can write a sentence like that and not pause with a feeling of unease.

  29. Robert Carnegie said,

    November 22, 2006 at 12:23 am

    Dang, I put my cursor right over where Ben wrote “you’re all rising to the challenge and I can’t tell you how h###y that makes me.” No, honestly.

    Basically it’s a line from Warren Ellis’s [Ocean], a graphic novel, with somewhat shaky science, about a strange and highly alarming discovery in the deep ocean (I’m being coy; there’s a twist which is given away in the blurb, but I think it works well as a surprise, so, I dunno, get a copy in brown paper covers.

    The time is some way in the future, and the hero is a United Nations weapons inspector who looks like Samuel L. Jackson and gets all the girls.

    He takes one of the girls (who is badass) on a visit to The Doors Corporation (uhuh), whose minor employees have their personality replaced by efficient Doors software for the duration of their contract. Apparently this serves business needs but makes them about as able to process unexpected inputs as androids in 1960s Star Trek stories are (you remember how they used to have smoke coming out the ears), and badass girl says something like I momentarily thought Ben said when one of the station staff introduces himself by job title. It doesn’t actually disrupt the guy’s function, it just lets her let off steam, I think.

  30. fillo said,

    November 22, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    Robert: Your cursor covers three letters? Why you must have an exceedingly large one, sir.

    Just in case anyone cares, the article has now been corrected. The kinetic energy of a mosquito is about right, too, but I would have rather had it in slow-moving mint imperials. I’ve just been thinking about mosquitos: do they really crash land with their maximum velocity, or do they do some elegant braking procedure during the last moments of flight?

    The following correction was printed in the guardian’s Corrections and clarifications column, Wednesday November 22 2006

    The energy of all the particles in Cern’s collider in Switzerland will “pack as much punch as a 400-tonne train travelling at 120mph”, and not the energy in each proton, as we stated in error in the article below. The usual comparison for a single proton is with a mosquito landing on skin.

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  32. Ask The Baby: The Large Hadron Collider « This Week In Bean said,

    January 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    […] Ask The Baby: I am afraid the Large Hardon Collider is going to destroy Earth by creating a black hole in the middle of the planet. It will be just […]

  33. Epic fail - Page 95 - London Fixed-gear and Single-speed said,

    March 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    […] Originally Posted by General Lucifer Spelling Fail… She didn't really need to wait – all the way back from April 2006… […]