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Mass appeal boson goes hip

AFP
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Youtube songs, mugs and t-shirts have all paid homage to the god particle

Credit: somethinggeeky.com
Credit: somethinggeeky.com

The Higgs boson has not only pushed back the frontiers of science – it has also broken new ground in hipness, spawning songs, merchandising and jokes.b

Youtube lists nearly two dozen songs devoted to the elusive mass-giving particle, the search for which climaxed last year and earned two physicists the Nobel Prize on Tuesday.

The offerings – mainly from amateurs – take on the unusual challenge of trying to make particle physics understandable and sexy.

The writer and performer is Tim Blais, a student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. More than half a million people have watched the song since it was posted in August 2012.

"One student from Spain told me his supervisor called my video 'The only good thing to come out of the Higgs discovery so far.' I'm flattered," Blais told AFP after the song took off last year.

Other online Higgs songs include heavy metal, techno, comedy and a "sonification" that sets Higgs data to a music-making algorithm.

"My love for you is the genuine article / Even though you're just a sub-atomic particle," says the chirpy "Higgs Boson Love Song" penned by Todd Chappelle.

The boson has also inspired coffee mugs, a cosmic-looking "Higgs watch," a cuddly toy and T-shirts – including a tee for babies that explains in simple terms the relationship between bosons, leptons, quarks, gluons and photons.AFP

The online craze can be traced to "Large Hadron Rap" written by Kate McAlpine, a Michigan State University graduate inspired by her assignment to CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, which discovered the Higgs last year. It has notched up more than 7.7 million views since it was posted in July 2008.


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