Does CERN love CMS ? December 30, 2007Posted by dorigo in humor, news, physics, science.
When I came back from Geneva three weeks ago I carried with me three decks of CERN playing cards I intended to offer as small presents to friends of my son Filippo, for Christmas. It was a good idea: the cards were appreciated by the recipients of the present. One of them is Sebastiano, who came to join us with his family – Ivan and Barbara – in our house in Padola: we are spending our days together, hiking on the snow during the day and playing in the evenings.
The cards are very nice: each of them is decorated with a picture of an experiment, a part of a detector, or some scientific information about particle physics or the big bang. A few discuss a scientific discovery made at the CERN laboratory, and some more describe shortly the standard model of particle physics or the subatomic particles. All in all, a very good idea by CERN, through which the world of research in particle physics can reach unsuspecting customers.
Today, however, as we played with the CERN deck a game of scopone scientifico – a game in which some cards have a special value – I could not help noticing a rather odd fact. You could imagine either that experiments, projects, theory facts would be dispersed on the cards without a logical arrangement or correspondence between the value of the card (in most games such as Poker), or that the correspondence were totally random: after all, how could one rank in importance the big bang, the fermions, or the LHC cavities ?
Instead, I was on for a striking discovery. There was indeed some scheme, and I could have learned it by reading on the box: clubs are about the formation of the universe, diamonds about the history of CERN, hearts and spades about the LHC projects and associated experiments. That is fine of course, but then I got suspicious and looked at the details – details are always obscene.
I could thus discover that the aces of hearts and spades were assigned respectively to “The ALICE detector for LHC” and “The ATLAS detector for LHC”. What was, then, the rank of the card titled “the CMS detector for LHC” ? A mere 6 of spades!!
Of course, one could claim it was mere chance that CMS was relegated to a disposable lowly card, while aces were assigned to the two jewels of detectors, ALICE and ATLAS. However, I think one could at least just as well read in it a higher attention of CERN for the two A experiments.
So: does CERN really love CMS as much as it loves ATLAS ?