The BBC -- Boy Band Collider


Rarely in science are two problems simultaneously solvable. The Maxwell solutions for equations of electric and magnetic fields are one. We argue there is another, more important scientific problem to be solved--one that will also remove an irritant from our social world.

Particle physicists have been searching for the reason behind mass. Why are some particles heavy, like the electron, and others weightless, like the neutrino? Higgs proposed that there is a unseen field in the universe. Any particle will react with the field, but some more than others, and it is this attraction which is the Higgs field. Physicists have been searching for evidence of this and are searching for the particle analogue of the field (each force has a particle associated with it--for the electromagnetic field it is the photon). The Higgs Boson, as it is called, should be an immense particle with a huge energy. The only way to produce these particles on earth is to use particle accelerators, like Fermilab, to speed particles nearly to the speed of light and then collide them, producing new and exotic particles. To produce a Higgs boson, it is suggested that you will need particles with at least 115 GeV (that's Giga Electron Volts, a measure of mass-energy). The CERN collider in Europe, the world's most powerful accelerator, could not produce them. In short, what is needed is a new approach.

Particle physicists have been so focused on the idea of smashing individual particles together that they fail to see a solution to the massive energy requirements of the Higgs boson. Instead of relying on a single particle, accelerated to 99.999% the speed of light, we could take a collection of atoms and accelerate them to only a small percentage of the speed of light, then at the last moment before collision transfer all the energy of the collection of atoms to one single particle. It's very easy to leisurely speed up lots of atoms, but hard to take one particle and bring it nearly to the speed of light.

What sort of collection of atoms? There are two "music" bands that are just past the peak of their popularity--it's only downhill from here. We are speaking of AJ, Kevin, Nick, Howie D., and Brian, collectively known as the Backstreet Boys; and Lance, JC, Joey, Chris and Justin, aka N'Sync. Instead of growing old and running on the VH1 channel's "Behind the Music" and MTV's "Two Hit Wonders" these brave vocal musicians could further science and help out mankind too by giving their lives for the Boy Band Collider (BBC).

A human head weighs about 5 kg; and there are approximately 2 x 10^26 atoms in a human head. If we took Howie D., say, and collided his severed head with Lance's going in the opposite direction, and we were able to take the energy of each atom and transfer it to one single nucleon, we would only have to accelerate the heads to a small percentage of the speed of light. We gain a factor of 10^13 with regards to the acceleration required. (Mass and velocity become complicated near the speed of light; as you speed up, your mass-energy increases, requiring yet more energy for acceleration). This collision would produce the long awaited Higgs boson and confirmation of the very important Standard Model of physics.

If we were unable to produce a Higgs boson from the start, we have four more chances to complete the experiment. (Five if you add a band manager in as well).

We estimate that construction of a low-speed collider suitable for this experiment would cost $30 million. There is an additional cost of $100,000 to obtain the heads of the members of the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync. An accomplished Chicago hit man has agreed to do the job for this price.

Consider carefully the profound benefits this project could have for humanity. The Ryerson Astronomical Society, the scientific community, and frustrated parents of preteen girls around the world await the Annual Allocation committee's decision.

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