Saturday 19 November 2011

Einstein: 'I know what you are, but what am I?'

Marty, the flux capacitor!

The Journal of High Energy Physics is to publish the first of the claims by Italian physicists that they can disprove Einstein’s assertion that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Probably because you’d keep on bumping into stuff. Way back in 1905 Albert Einstein through his theory of special relativity described that the speed of light in a vacuum (some 169,282 miles per second) would require an infinite amount of energy to better. Also, you would keep on bumping into things. Famously when a reader seeing this and with a little borrowed knowledge snortled that in a total vacuum the chance of bumping into anything was as next to zero as to be a certainty, Einstein with astonishing foresight regarding the internet and this blog in particular pulled a face and made the jerky-jerky motion with his hand. Yeah, you smart arse.
When the Italians were asked why their work at Cern in Switzerland is concerning itself with having a pop at Einstein – who can’t after all answer back – as opposed to their more popular work on a functioning Stargate Dr Alberto Sordi (Count Emilio Ponticelli in Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines) answered by breaking into song before his many children whilst Eric Sykes on the orders of Terry Thomas sawed part way through his experiments after applying extremely strong contact glue to several available surfaces. The inevitable sabotage of the Cern Hadron Collider will result in Dr Sordi buying a series of replacements from Tony Hancock, each more farcical than the last.


  1. Cern is headed by a Welsh man. I think its all a very big con job. Lots of flashing lights and miles of tunnels and hugely powerful electro magnets. Its a sixties SciFi enthusiasts wet dream made real - but I doubt it does anything really. You can only see what it does when a man in a corduroy jacket with elbow patches shows you a readout in computerspeak. So you only have his word for it.You can't SEE what it does. Only if you're very quick sighted. Don Quixote then.

  2. That's sort of all things highly-interesting in science though really. Ideally it would all be fantastical graphics of super-massive black holes but it remains instead equation-squiggle-equation.

    If there have to hugely powerful electro-magnets though I applaud the effort that resulted in miles of miles of them. Also the yellow jumpsuits and fantastically shiny silver helmets of the guards.

    'That'll be my... magnetic personality,' says Roger Moore.

  3. CERN is really just a front, as you'll have spotted, for the Brian Cox Organisation. A lot like the Alan Parsons Project, but evil. Evil in a coy, northern way that has young mums flapping about like halibut.

  4. ...Cox is the bruised, excuse-making housewife to Neil Oliver. Dancing about trying to rekindle their former days with cut-out fairies in the garden whilst Oliver only wants to watch Celtic at home to Hibs. To the soundtrack (obviously) of All About Eve.