My 25 Mundane Neutrino Explanations

Today I had the most fun I’ve ever had on Twitter, thanks to the OPERA experiment working out of CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider.

The blogosphere is ablaze with news that they seem to have detected neutrinos traveling faster than light.  If true, it would be the biggest science news of the century, overturning one of the most fundamental concepts in physics.  There is obviously much skepticism amongst scientists.  For a typically insightful explanation, check out Bad Astronomer Phil Plait‘s post:  Faster-than-light travel discovered? Slow down, folks

The Twitter fun began when a discussion between two physicist/mathematician-types, Blake Stacey (@blakestacey) and S.C. Kavassalis (@sc_k) led Blake to tweet:

@sc_k Maybe we need to counterbalance the HEP blogohedron with a Twitter meme? e.g., #mundaneneutrinoexplanations

Then he spun out a few funny examples of more mundane explanations for the unusual neutrino measurement:

  • #CERN physicists did arithmetic on old Pentium computers
  • #CERN physicists let undergrads near the experiment
  • Calculations done by visiting Americans who still don’t get the metric system.

…  all with the #mundaneneutrinoexplanations hashtag appended.

I think I was the first one to follow his lead with:

  • Forgot to carry the one
  • Confused neutrino with one sent later
  • Study published by Wakefield et al

Then @drskyskull and @physicsdavid and others joined in (even astophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Bad Astronomer) and, before you know it, the Twitterverse was alive with funny explanations, some of which may be as likely as superluminal neutrinos.  I ended up spitting out about 25 of them, which I present here, as they were tweeted, in reverse chronological order (so start from the bottom).  Enjoy!

 

#mundaneneutrinoexplanations

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Discussion

  • MrsSchmidtYourOldReligionTeacher

    1:10 am
    Sep-23-2011
    Reply

    stop being brain silly, brian ;-)

  • Ben F.

    4:45 pm
    Sep-23-2011
    Reply

    Biggest physic news and best physics humor living symbiotically.

  • [...] The OPERA instrumentFaster than light neutrinos!???! Yeah, you all heard this story, you all made jokes about it, and just about every science writer on the planet read (or at least struggled through) the paper [...]

  • Canvaverbalist

    1:03 am
    Mar-26-2012
    Reply

    What would have been fun is if you had posted the “best of” from everybody and not just yours, even tho I get this is your website.

    I’m late, and can’t find them anywhere now :(

Comment on This