(Written 28 July 2012)

Dear All,
With the recent news of the confirmation of the finding of a particle that may well be the Higgs boson I thought it would be a fine thing to post a favourite poem (and a joke) for physicists.

Billy Collins – The Centrifuge
(The trouble with poetry, Random House, 2005)

It is difficult to describe what we felt
after we paid the admission,
entered the aluminium dome,
and stood there with our mouths open
before the machine itself,
what we had only read about in papers.

Huge and glistening it was
but bolted down and giving nothing away.

What did it mean?
we all openly wondered.
and did another machine exist somewhere else-
an even mightier one-
that was designed to be the exact opposite?

These were not new questions,
but we asked them earnestly and repeatedly.

Later, when we were home again-
a family of six having tea-
we raised these questions once more,
knowing that it made us part
of a great historical discussion
that included science
as well as literature and the weather
not to mention the lodger downstairs,
who, someone said,
had been seen earlier leaving the house
with a suitcase and a tightly furled umbrella.

And the joke…