SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 8:10 AM PST

Supercollider Collides, Not Super

by Cappy Ahab,
NA!P NewsWire

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 even close."

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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