Large Hadron Rap A Viral Hit - InformationWeek

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9/12/2008
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Large Hadron Rap A Viral Hit

Physicists testing the big bang theory in Geneva use hip-hop rhymes to explain their work.

Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva have drawn nearly 3 million views of a rap video they created about particle physics.

The video, posted on YouTube, begins with a narration, a beat, and images of the scientists in lab coats leaning out the windows of a compact CERN lab car approaching the facility as they move their hands to the beat.

"Ah, yeah, I'm about to drop some particle physics in 'da glove," the narrator explains. "The LHC is super-duper fly. You know what I'm saying. Check it."

Rapper Alpinekat, a CERN trainee whose real name is Kate MacAlpine, explains the theory that the Higgs Field is an invisible force through which particles move. Some, like the proton, move quickly. "It has no mass, but something heavy, like the top quark is dragging its --- (!)," MacAlpine explains as her words appear on the bottom of the screen.

The "Large Hadron Rap" explains, in rhyming terms that could be understood by elementary school students, how scientists plan to send protons speeding through an underground tunnel at near-light speed to make them collide. It also provides clear and simple explanations about dark matter, antimatter, undiscovered dimensions, and ions.

The video shows clips of the equipment and scientists dancing in the environment where they hope to test the big bang theory, learn about dark matter, or refute the validity of theories about matter, mass, and how the universe formed.

"The LHCb accelerates the protons and the lead and the things that it discovers will rock you in the head," MacAlpine raps in the song's refrain.

More than 12,600 people have rated the video, which scores five stars for quality according to YouTube users' ratings. About 8,400 comments and more than 100 video responses were listed with the video as of Friday. One user reported, "I just got my geek on." The video was "favorited" more than 17,000 times. It was originally posted in late July.

The video ends with the narrator slowly saying, "Ah yeah, our understanding of the universe is about to change thanks to the Large Hadron Collider. This is C-to-the-E-to-the-R-to-the-N, coming straight out of Geneva," before MacAlpine signs off with, "Alpinekat, over and out."

Researchers turned on the sophisticated machinery earlier this week and said they could conduct the experiment within the next two months.

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