Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Small Drayton Collider

Inspired  by today's possible success of the Large Hadron Collider we've been doing our own experiments with high-energy particles this afternoon.

Drayton Parslow always likes to to leave his cottage windows wide open. At this time of the year he reckons that the chilliness is next to godliness, and the discomfort reminds him that he should wear two vests, thermal T-shirt, shirt, cardie, jacket and rain coat at all times. He says this keeps him warm and also - through the sheer number of layers involved - keeps temptation at bay. Although I don't reckon anyone's gonna be lining up to tear his thermal T-shirt off no matter how warm it is, frankly.

But the open windows gave us the chance to try our experiment. We all lined up outside his front window, and threw tennis balls into his living room as fast as we could.

We had a mixed bag of results. Some traces we got at high frequencies suggested we'd hit several vases, and possibly also Marjorie. But four or five of the balls came back out through the side window - and one came straight back out at the front.

Our belief is that the large deviations of these tennis balls are proof that Drayton was standing in the living room at the time, and they ricocheted off him. However at the moment we're giving it no more than a three sigma level of confidence. We're going to go back tomorrow, in the best scientific tradition, to see if we can repeat the result.

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