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Writer Explains Particle Acceleration — In A Rap
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Writer Explains Particle Acceleration — In A Rap

Digital Life


Well, now, for a real machine that could answer some of those questions. It's the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC. And not even two weeks after it first cranked up, we learned today that the LHC will be shut down for at least two months. The problem with the world's biggest particle accelerator? Damage to its cooling system. Scientists were still running tests when the damage occurred, so no particles have actually collided yet.

It is a setback for physicists and science fans everywhere. This was one of the most hyped experiments in history. A couple of weeks ago, we told you about physicists who were getting improv comedy lessons to help them explain to the world what the LHC is and why it won't suck us all into a black hole. Well, now the LHC team has struck again with a smashing hip-hop video on YouTube.

(Soundbite of LHC team hip-hop video)

Ms. KATE MCALPINE (Science Writer, CERN): (Rapping) They're looking for whatever new particles they can find. The LHC accelerates the protons in the lead. And the things that it discovers will rock you in the head...

SEABROOK: This video has been viewed more than three million times. The woman behind it? A writer for CERN, the group running the collider. Her name is Kate McAlpine. We tracked her down yesterday in London. And busting mad physics rhymes? It ain't no thing for a woman named Alpinekat.

Ms. MCALPINE: I couldn't freestyle rap, that's for sure. But if you just gave me a paragraph of information and said, OK, now re-explain this in verse. I could probably do it.

SEABROOK: And there's good news for science geeks who don't speak English?

Ms. MCALPINE: A man named Carlos Sicilia in Venezuela translated the whole thing into Spanish, and it rhymes.

(Soundbite of LHC rap in Spanish)

SEABROOK: You can check out Kate McAlpine's mad skills on our Web site,

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