17, 8:10 AM PST
Supercollider Collides, Not Super
MARYVILLE, MO. -- Engineers
at the Northwest Institute expressed disappointment over the
preliminary test results of the first experiments conducted at
the new Maryville Superconducting Supercollider.
"[I'm] not that impressed," said Ernie Fasak,
a compound engineer who developed the customized vacuum seals
for the $3.8 billion project.
"I guess when you hear the words 'super'
and 'collider' in the same sentence, you kind of expect something
pretty amazing, like out of The Matrix or at least Smokey and
the Bandit -- not a couple of colored dots on a crappy iMac screen."
When asked if the first super collision
was even in A-Team or MacGyver league, Fasak said, "Not
Dr. Harvard "Cal" Coolidge, chief
scientist and administrator of the supercollider, explained that
some of the dismay resulted from poor communication.
"All the scientists thought it would
be neat if the engineers would come to the opening party. We
thought the social aspect would be attractive to them, but we
probably talked up the spectacular crashing way too much."
Contributing to the disappointment was
a widely-circulated but unfounded rumor that the scientists were
planning on colliding something other than invisible particles.
"I heard maybe shopping carts,"
said an engineer, requesting anonymity.
Magnet-installation supervisor Chuck Koskie
suggested that even larger collision candidates were possible.
"Those magnets are real big," he said, "I bet
you could have done pick-up trucks, maybe bulldozers."
Coolidge lamented that the mixer didn't
go as planned, but acknowledged that it was an important step
forward in scientist/engineer relations.
The length of the supercollider's tunnels
total more than seventy miles. Superconducting magnets placed
in the tunnels are designed to drive particles into one another
at nearly unimaginable speeds. The project was funded through
state and federal grants and a special "Crash for Cash"
pull-tab promotion sponsored by the Missouri Lottery.
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