Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Good News for Nerds - Aurora Over Switzerland?

Now that the great minds of the world have gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, to discover the secrets of the universe, I can use mine to let you know what comes next.

The last time I looked, it was obvious that they really don’t know what to expect. Dr Aldo Saavedra, a particle physicist at the University of Sydney, actually said "It would be really nice if nature actually provided some very puzzling thing that theories haven't actually thought of."

Guess what?

The University of Alaska has been studying auroras for years and says that “the aurora is caused by radiation emitted as light from atoms in the upper atmosphere as they are hit by fast-moving electrons and protons. The kind of atom determines the color.” These are the same kind of electrons and protons that they are messing with in CERN, right?

As a grandmother and homework researcher, I theorize that the world will not end because of black holes; Higgs is actually hovering somewhere over Transylvania; and there will be a new Aurora over Switzerland and a 600 foot hole in the ground after the $4 Billion Large Hadron Collider blows up trying to find Higgs. What color the aurora will be is another story.

According to Wikipedia, “Different gases interacting with the upper atmosphere will produce different colors, caused by the different compounds of oxygen and nitrogen. The level of solar wind activity from the sun can also influence the color of the aurorae.”

Mary and Ian Butterworth, Imperial College London, and Doris and Vigdor Teplitz, of the Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, have written a one page dummy book on Higgs Boson. You can read it at

The new phenomenon will probably not be called Aurora Borealis, which in Latin means "the dawn of the north", but I'm not sure if scientists have the kahones to call it what it is "Aurora Illigitimi Carbarundum." Regardless, get your cameras ready for the Alps.

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