Demogorgons, Spock with a goatee, you know the rest
July 3, 2019 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Leah Broussard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the search for "mirror matter". In a series of experiments she plans to run at Oak Ridge this summer, Broussard will send a beam of subatomic particles down a 50-foot tunnel, past a powerful magnet and into an impenetrable wall. If the setup is just right — and if the universe cooperates — some of those particles will transform into mirror-image versions of themselves, allowing them to tunnel right through the wall. And if that happens, Broussard will have uncovered the first evidence of a mirror world right alongside our own.
posted by Cash4Lead (23 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Like Dr Emilio Lizardo, in 1938!
posted by Rash at 9:18 AM on July 3, 2019 [23 favorites]

Wouldn't it be easier to just borrow that special knife from the guys over in Citàgazze?
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:21 AM on July 3, 2019 [13 favorites]

lol so what are they gonna do, grow goatees on--
*reads post title*
*tunnels through wall*
posted by J.K. Seazer at 9:25 AM on July 3, 2019 [5 favorites]

This is BS. Clearly, we live in the dark mirror universe.
posted by q*ben at 9:26 AM on July 3, 2019 [19 favorites]

She's gonna need an oscillating overthruster.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:35 AM on July 3, 2019 [12 favorites]

This is BS. Clearly, we live in the dark mirror universe.

Good gods. That would explain a lot, huh?
posted by Caduceus at 9:35 AM on July 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

Neutrons can't just disappear so where do they go? Mirror Universe!
posted by SonInLawOfSam at 9:38 AM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

So does each particle get its own goatee, or does it form some kind of metabeard?
posted by BeeDo at 9:39 AM on July 3, 2019 [12 favorites]

In 1956, it was shown that the mirror image of our Universe is not itself. So the mirror image would be something different.
posted by vacapinta at 9:42 AM on July 3, 2019 [9 favorites]

Are you with me Dr. Wu? Are you really just a shadow?
posted by Oyéah at 9:52 AM on July 3, 2019 [7 favorites]

So, that's where the dark matter is tucked away.
posted by Bee'sWing at 9:54 AM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Are you with me Dr. Wu?

That's Madame Wu to you. One of the greatest physicists of the 20th century - although she happened to be Chinese and a woman so of course never got her due.
posted by vacapinta at 9:57 AM on July 3, 2019 [14 favorites]

I don't know Broussard, but I know several of her collaborators very well. This experiment has been in the proposal stage for at least twenty years. I'm glad that a version of it is finally going to run --- even though it'd be pretty hard to interpret a positive "mirror matter" signal as anything but a mistake.

I'm still holding out for the long-term search where a new reactor neutron source is built on top of a mineshaft and the neutrons are allowed to fall to a detector at the bottom. Though that design is more sensitive to neutron-antineutron osclillations than to disappearance into the mirror world.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 10:02 AM on July 3, 2019 [5 favorites]

I am so proud of this community that the very first comment is a Buckaroo Banzai reference!
posted by Naberius at 10:25 AM on July 3, 2019 [8 favorites]

Will she get Barb back? WILL SHE???
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:33 AM on July 3, 2019 [9 favorites]

the first evidence of a mirror world

excellent! I can't wait to see which one.
posted by notquitemaryann at 12:24 PM on July 3, 2019

Do you want The Leftovers? Because this is how you get The Leftovers.
posted by bleep at 3:39 PM on July 3, 2019

> That's Madame Wu to you.

Sorry to digress slightly but, vacapinta thank you for cluing me in to the existence of Chien-Shiung Wu, although

She is best known for conducting the Wu experiment, which proved that parity is not conserved. This discovery resulted in her colleagues Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang winning the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physics

Fucking goddamnit man

Where have I heard this before? Oh, that's right

I dedicate this comment to Emmy Noether
posted by dubitable at 3:43 PM on July 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

Back on topic though, this is seriously cool and thinking about it more fancifully, it definitely reminded me immediately of the upside-down from Stranger Things (which I assume is what WCityMike was going for too)
posted by dubitable at 3:57 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

There's a story about the Lee-Yang parity violation paper, Wu's cobalt experiment, and the Garwin/Lederman/Weinrich pion-muon experiment (all at Columbia, apparently? in the winter of 1956-1957) in pages 256-273 of Lederman's The God Particle. The framing of the story is...dated, but he still explains what's up with mirror symmetry and how they checked for it in the weak interaction.

Wikipedia article on the Wu experiment has links to Lee-Yang, Wu, and G/L/W papers, but the first 2 links scare Firefox and may be broken.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:45 PM on July 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Excerpt from post-experiment retrospective:

John Bigbooté : We've had our chance! Your Overthruster's for shit! We're lost!

Lord John Whorfin : One more word out of you, Bigbooty...

John Bigbooté : [screaming] BIG-BOO-TAY! TAY! TAY!

[Whorfin shoots him]
posted by lon_star at 2:45 AM on July 4, 2019

Connect the dots, and you reach a far-out conclusion: The neutron experiments might look screwy because physicists unwittingly opened a portal to the mirror world.

... oh come ON!
Articles like this show how very little we really understand. I feel like there needs to be a kind of physics developed that does not rely on human observation, that we’ve reached the limit of our observable universe and now need to study first I guess the ways we don’t understand thing, and then what we don’t understand, ultimately returning the results back to ‘our’ perceivable university. Because clearly, there’s ... lots... we’re not getting.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:14 AM on July 4, 2019

And in the mirrorverse:
- But mooom, I didn't push the table, the vase just fell!
- yeah right, so something from another dimension just whooshed in?
posted by monocultured at 9:42 AM on July 5, 2019

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