A number of prominent people in science and science fiction have had samples of their body tissues launched into space after they died. Thus Gene Roddenberry, thus Timothy Leary, thus Clyde Tombaugh, to name only three. Now, I’ve come up with a similar honour for particle physicists.

Currently, it appears that the matter being shot into particle accelerators — protons taken from hydrogen nuclei, lead ions — is just anonymous off-the-shelf stuff from chemical supply firms. This is boring. Instead, all the big old guys and gals in high energy physics should contribute tissue samples, from which hydrogen and lead could be extracted and then shot into the Large Hadron Collider. BANG HIGGS BOSON!

They wouldn’t even have to be dead first.

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  1. #1 Chad
    April 25, 2008

    That is the best goddamn idea I’ve heard in quite some time.

  2. #2 puttputt
    April 25, 2008


  3. #3 Martin R
    April 25, 2008

    That’s powerful. “Baby, I’m gonna give it to you like my stuff had spent three months getting accelerated in the LHC!”

  4. #4 Alun
    April 25, 2008

    This reminds me of a cartoon from Nearing Zero:

  5. #5 Janne
    April 25, 2008

    If they’re not already dead, and the process doesn’t kill them, then the protocol for this needs to be revised 🙂

    But why only particle physics? Several prominent scientists already have their brains, skulls and other anatomical detritus donated for physiology and neurology use, covering those areas well already.

    But many a high-profile chemical experiment would be enriched by a bit of purified carbon or hydrogen from a famous practitioner. And for biology the possibilities are almost limitless: “We sequenced the malaria genome, and we grew the cultures on Essence of Dawkins!”. “Feed the fishes” could regain its double meaning in the field.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    April 25, 2008

    But they will be dead after the black hole forms and sucks the entire earth into itself.

  7. #7 Martin R
    April 25, 2008

    I wonder how many NASA technicians’ biocontamination is on various probes out there.

  8. #8 Martin Langeland
    April 25, 2008

    So: The ne plus ultra of recycling?

  9. #9 Left_Wing_Fox
    April 25, 2008

    So if we accelerated a sperm in the particle accelerator and collided it with an egg, could we examine the resulting particles for evidence of the soul? 😉

  10. #10 Martin R
    April 25, 2008

    It is said among the wise that if you direct a beam of accelerated protons exactly at the middle of a man’s forehead, then his soul will leave his body.

  11. #11 Rikard
    April 26, 2008

    “It is said among the wise that if you direct a beam of accelerated protons exactly at the middle of a man’s forehead, then his soul will leave his body.”
    Yes, if you would direct the LHC beam at a man’s forehead his soul would surely leave his body. With a bang.

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