Friday, September 13, 2013

My boyhood addiction

It was innocent at first - just a taste, and it only cost me a dollar. What could it hurt? I ran out of the basement clutching the brown paper bag and raced home to my room, where I locked my door and jumped on to the bed. Opening the bag, I pulled out my new find and read my first Tom Swift Jr. book.

The thrill lasted only so long, but it was great. Silly characters, adventure, the first hints of girls as something interesting to hang out with. And secreted away in the pages, a very (sometimes VERY VERY) small bit of real science. I astonished my teacher in fifth grade by identifying a sea cucumber from an illustration, thanks to Tom Swift and his Undersea Hyperdome. I learned about inertia and gravity from his repelatron, and I'm still waiting for someone to invent a Trifibion Atomicar, just to see if the atomic battery works the way he said it would.

ALICE is a real experiment at CERN's Large Collider in France. While not the primary goal of, I picked up a lot of real science reading those books. Now, I have to take a lot of liberties with reality in this story, but hopefully you 'll be interested in the fantastic things being accomplished under the ground of  St Genis-Pouilly to look into the subject more. One thing Tom Swift didn't have, but I'll bet he would have found handy - hyperlinks (bet he'd have loved the name.)

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