Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider have made a startling discovery and the implications ripple well beyond the scientific community.
After the discovery and verification of the Higgs-Boson more than five years ago, scientists have been searching ceaselessly for the next big (or small, as the case may be) discovery in physics.
“Finding the Higgs was like finding that one missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle of the standard model, we knew it should be there and we knew what it should look like,” says Dr. Lisa Richards of CERN. “Its discovery heralded a sort of finality. But, like the particles we observe in the collider, it was short lived. Since then, we’ve all been racing to find what might be over the horizon.” Richards pauses, her eyes far away and trembling, before she returns to the moment. “We never imagined this is what we would find.”
The LHC spent several months, from December 2016 until April of this year, under maintenance, so when it kicked back on toward the end of spring, spirits and hopes were at an all-time high. Researchers at the 27-kilometer long facility crafted a short list of things they hoped to uncover, drafting models of particle behavior they might expect if something new and exotic did appear.
At the top of the hunting list was a desire to uncover the truth behind Dark Matter. Such a discovery would open up exciting new lines of experimentation and help to explain much of the physical universe heretofore unexplained. Further down the list, a point of sincere contention within the scientific community, was the search for any evidence that would confirm the existence of parallel worlds.
The Large Hadron Collider smashes particles together at near light speed. Fragments scatter, revealing their nature.
“String theory suggests an additional ten dimensions wrapped up in invisible vibrating coils inside quarks. It’s our best real shot at unifying quantum behavior and the standard model. Confirmation of these dimensions would also suggest the existence of alternate realities next door to our own. It’s even possible that matter or energy might ripple between realities. Such a discovery would have far-reaching consequences not just to our physical models but to our own reality,” Dr. Rupert Hancock said, during a 2013 lecture at Oxford.
Hancock spoke to us on the phone after CERN’s recent discovery, “No, I don’t feel vindicated. I suffered years of ridicule at the hands of my colleagues. There was an eight month stretch when I went without lunch. Every day I’d walk to the fridge, move aside the cultured specimens, and reach for my turkey on rye only to find an empty bag and a post-it note suggesting my sandwich was eaten by an alternate version of myself while I was working. I know it was you, Kevin!”
Hancock paints a picture of a laboratory filled with schoolyard bullies, none more vicious than Kevin Sizemore, his lab coat one size too small, a vindictive grin and a dollop of mayo hiding at the corner of his mouth.
“But I’d trade this new horror for a lifetime of Schrödinger's hoagie jokes,” Hancock said.
The new horror Hancock is referring to is the Mandela particle, discovered more than a month ago at the LHC. Researchers were reticent to announce their discovery until such time as it could be independently confirmed.
“It’s standard practice that no discoveries are announced or papers published until an experiment can be independently verified,” Dr. Richards, again. “Never before have I wished so earnestly to be wrong.”
When asked why she didn’t attach her own name to the discovery, Richards said, “Isn’t it obvious?” Instead, Richards opted to name it after the Mandela Effect, a cultural colloquialism referring to reality shifting,
Left to right: Reality splinters as seen by red boxes at bottom left, at the right of the photo nazis emerge in small blue boxes.
The Mandela Effect hypothesis was coined by Fiona Broome and is based on the recollection of many that Nelson Mandela died in prison during the eighties, despite his long and successful political career after being released. The idea rose to popular prominence recently after the discovery that the popular children’s book series The Berenstein Bears had, seemingly overnight, been altered to Berenstain. Some suggest these massively held false memories are evidence of shifting between realities.
Such musings had been relegated to internet conspiracy theories, that is until the announcement of the Mandela particle during a press conference last week.
“The particle has unique properties that allow for relatively simple identification and testing,” Richards said before dozens of microphones Tuesday evening. “These particles carry resonant frequencies corresponding to their native reality’s energy signatures.”
Richards went on to explain that the particles seem to enter our reality in bundles, grabbing onto nearby materials through some, as yet unexplained, physical force and carrying them into neighboring realities. At the time of publication, the origin of the Mandela particles is still unconfirmed, the leading hypothesis involves the collision of supermassive black holes which release exotic particles in staggering quantities.
What’s most frightening is the population of such particles. According to the paper, published jointly by CERN and SLAC Linac, our local neighborhood (referring to our position in the universe) is absolutely swimming in Mandelas. The probability that any of us has been or will be impacted by such a particle in our lifetime eventually reaches one.
“These events are incredibly common,” said William Hambley, a tenured particle physics professor at Cambridge, and head of the Cambridge Electron Accelerator. “Frankly, it’s shocking that it’s taken us this long to discover these wee little beasties.”
While the scientific community was initially excited over the prospect of physical transportation between worlds, the narrative shifted over the weekend when a quantum cloud of Mandelas manifested around the globe.
“Gone are the days when the most we have to worry about is the alteration of a children’s book or the star of a hackneyed genie movie from the nineties,” said Tom Robinson of the social sciences division at UCLA. “Now we have Nazis marching in our streets. I have some recollection from my own studies of a World War fought specifically to quell that type of thinking and an American civil rights movement that settled the question of race relations decades ago, at least in theory if not in practice. I guess that’s not the reality we live in anymore. And Trump is President… are you REDACTED kidding me?”
The scientific community responded to the event in the only way they know how, with thorough experimentation and strict adherence to the scientific method. Labs all over the world scrambled to be the first to complete an investigation of these bizarre happenings.
After at least six interns vomited at the mere thought of touching them (some reports put the number well into the double digits), hair samples were collected and tested from Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler.
Spencer came to notoriety recently for his role in popularizing the “alt-right” (read Nazi). Spencer coined the term “alt-right” in a spineless attempt at rebranding an almost century old flavor of unadulterated hate, cloaking it in tailored suits and neo-Hitler haircuts. Since then, his most useful contribution to society was having the world’s most punchable face.
“Tests have confirmed non-native energy signatures,” Richards said. “They’re not from around here, but they’re our problem now.”
Pictured: Richard Spencer, trapped in a temporal causality loop, forever being punched.
And that’s the sad truth of our reality, while these Mandela particles may be responsible for initiating these events, once the events have occurred they’re woven into our world. All we can do is accept that Berenstain is spelled with an A, Sinbad never played a genie, and there are literal Nazis in the United States in 2017.
Until such time as Jerry O’Connell creates a sliding device, our only recourse is to punch fascism in the teeth wherever it is found.
UPDATE: Just after publication CERN released a statement that at least one particle physicist has died at their facility. At the close of a recent test, Dr. Thomas Pinkerton leapt from an observation balcony onto the collider shaft in a state of apparent mania. He was heard screaming, “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.” Colleagues believe Pinkerton hoped the release of Mandelas at the moment of collision might carry him away.
Family members of the deceased have requested donations be made to the ACLU in Pinkerton’s honor.