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back to article My dad found the Higgs boson! Reminiscences of a CERN kid

When your Dad’s a bus driver or a bank manager life must be simple. Bring-your-kids-to-work day involves things like garages and spreadsheets: when I was little it meant trying not to step in front of a particle beam. As a child I attended the playgroup at CERN while my older sister was enrolled at their international school …

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Anonymous Coward

Now we have it, what do we do with it?

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Boffin

What do we do with it? No-one knows. That's OK, fundamental research is rarely useful immediately. Give it a few decades though, and it'll be the basis of all kinds of consumery stuff. Remember that electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and relativity were all nothing but intellectual curiosities for several decades before they suddenly turned up in the real world, giving us things like power grids, CD players and GPS.

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Pint

"It doesn’t get much cooler than this."

Is surely the phrase of the day.

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Anonymous Coward

Scotch?

The guy with the Scotch accent? He sounded like whisky?

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Pint

Re: Scotch?

but if he did, which one? Did he sound smoky, like an Islay malt, or smooth, like Speyside?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Scotch?

If it's good enough for Robbie Burns, it's easily good enough for you.

http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/One_hundred_and_twenty_Scotch_poems_by_R.html?id=-DbaAAAACAAJ&redir_esc=y

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Happy

Re: Scotch?

Most Saturday nights, I have a scotch accent. I look forward to it.

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Windows

Re: Scotch?

Is that the same as scotch breath? I sometimes develop that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Scotch?

Robbie Burns didn't write in English. This article is written in english. Perhaps you didn't notice

"Ma wee tim'rous daddy discover'd yon Higgs Boson. Oh whit a panic in his breastie"

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Awesome...

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Anonymous Coward

"They found it impossible to fathom how my dad could hold an access all areas Atomic Energy Commission keycard while being born in a terrorist hotspot."

Because they're ignorant 'mericans?

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Happy

In fairness I think the correct description is ignorant border guards regardless of nationality. Along with Traffic wardens I think they are some kind human subspecies who hate us "alphas"

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Ditto

A friend of mine has the same problem. He's been involved in the design process of most of the western worlds nuclear reactors, both power generating and military. He too holds the same access all areas pass, and he too is detained each time he leaves or enters the States for hours, because his passport says he's Iranian. Although he is in the true sense born and bred over there, only moving over here as an adult (with lots of nuclear qualifications and his services being snapped up in the 60s and 70s by governments wanting to implement this nuclear thingy).

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Inspiring story! Having visited CERN, and seeing the amazing results coming out of it, I wish I'd done physics instead of chemistry and gone to work there. It's always great when parents inspire their kids through their enthusiasm for whatever interests them.

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Happy

Ok, I have the attention span of a fish, and I can only aspire to it's intelectual capacity. Because this article - to me - read as:

blah, blah, blah

"It's David Attenborough!! Talking about physics! Cool!"

blah, blah...

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Anonymous Coward

Thanks for this

It's an inspirational story, and an interesting at the personalities behind the scenes.

I especially liked the line, "all Freon and beams. I remember thinking: It doesn’t get much cooler than this." True, in more ways than one.

Big shout out to the CERN massive - job's a good'un!

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Is it bad that I've read this and thought... "I wonder if it was that apocalypse mud or battletech muse the kids were playing in Toronto?

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Joke

Higgs Boson walks into a church. The priest says "Sorry but we don't allow particles in here."

The Boson says "But without me, how can you have mass?"

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2 beers

fine for and old joke!!

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"any thoughts of following my dad’s passion for bosons was replaced with a passion for boys. You know how it is ..."

Only too well... ;)

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Odd

I never had that trouble during puberty -- not that I didn't screw, of course, only that I knew how to keep such extracurriculars from interfering with what was really important.

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Thumb Up

What a cool story.

I still think that the CERN facility looks like Black Mesa :)

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Iran

All the best people were born in Iran! Just look at Anousheh Ansari. I'm biased though!

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Great story! It must be an amazing feeling for your father, to have worked so hard for so long on something so momentous.

Coverage here in the states has been rather limited. It rales pales in comparison compared to the triumph of some doped up freaks at the superbowel, a sad reflection on our values unfortunately.

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Trollface

Superbowel?

A superbowel, is that like a really really large intestine?

I doubt that would get as good viewing figures as the superbowl.

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Re: Superbowel?

It was quite deliberate and in reference to the distress Americans cause to their plumbing on that Sunday :-)

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Coat

Re: Superbowel?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxic_megacolon

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Superbowel?

"I doubt that would get as good viewing figures as the superbowl."

It would at the colonoscopy convention.

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Re: Superbowel?

Akira? (Well, Tetsuo)

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Happy

Why isn't Lucy working for the Special Projects Bureau?

She'd have LOHAN sorted in a few minutes...or be able to phone someone who could!

Anyway, thanks for a great story, Lucy. Some kids have more interesting childhoods than others, I guess!

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Anonymous Coward

Dads are amazing

My Dad has flown jet fighters and has witnessed a number of atomic tests.

I have a 20 yards swimming certificate.

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Happy

Re: Dads are amazing

My dad (and mum) was a teacher, in some ways I'm glad there's no real pressure on me to be massively successful.

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Re: Dads are amazing

This is exactly why I have decided to set the bar low for my kids ;-)

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Re: Dads are amazing

My Dad repaired Spitfires in India and Burma during the war. Wish I'd been able to get to know him properly as an adult but he passed away when I was 18 :(

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Trollface

Ask your dad

Why he still pursues his so-called 'science' when he has PROVED that God exists by finding the God Particle!

Not so mouthy now, are you Atheists!

(or buy him a pint from me. Either way is good)

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Lucy and puberty

So what you're saying is that bosoms displaced bosons...?

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Mushroom

Do nuclear physicists only have daughters?

It's a common observation that RF engineers father a much higher proportion of girls to boys. Reading this I wonder if that's true of nuclear physicists as well. It's quite likely that both would be exposed to strange forms of radiation at work, so there could be a connection. I don't work with RF or other radiation now, but I certainly did in my younger days, back when safety rules were more relaxed. I frequently stood in the near fields of transmitters, I once stood on top of a nuclear reactor (the Dounreay PFR), and I can honestly say that I once held a (very small) piece of plutonium in my hand. That could explain my two daughters and no sons. Have any statistical surveys been done at CERN?

(Nuclear fireball because it seems appropriate)

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Anonymous Coward

The Vatican rang

They want the God particle back, it's now a holy relic.

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