Opinion: “Let’s Talk About the Giant Particle Accelerator in the Room”

January 30, 2012 6:00 am
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Opinion: “Let’s Talk About the Giant Particle Accelerator in the Room”

By A SLAC Employee

This is hard. I don’t want to make things awkward between us, but there’s something on my mind I think we need to discuss. Every day we come to work—we try to solve the mysteries of the universe, try to develop a better understanding of the atoms that surround our existence. But somewhere along the way, I think something got lost in translation.

I think it’s time. We need to talk about the giant particle accelerator in the room.

I know what you’re thinking. “What are you talking about? We work at SLAC—we talk about the particle accelerator all day, every day.” But I’m not talking about that giant particle accelerator. No. I’m talking about the other one. The particle accelerator that keeps you up at night, the one that haunts your dreams and invades your thoughts. I’m talking about the giant particle accelerator in your heart. Sometimes it’s hard to see—sometimes we look at it and think, “Hey, that’s a real particle accelerator.” But at the end of the day, we’re deceiving ourselves. We know it’s not real.

The only particle accelerator is the one in our minds, and the longer we try to delude ourselves, the longer it will take us to realize that those “particles” that seem to be bouncing about are nothing more than figments of our imagination, colliding with each other in some tragic Shakespearian drama.

But that all stops today. I’m not going to let this particle accelerator control me, and neither should you. At stake are not only our lives, but the lives of our husbands and wives, our sons and our daughters. What most people don’t realize is that everyone has a giant particle accelerator in their lives. Some people call their giant particle accelerator “mother-in-law,” others call it “pepper spray,”—I call mine “a giant particle accelerator,” but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what we call it. What matters is that everyone has two giant metal tubes in their mind, working day in and day out to smash tiny things together, and until we have the courage to talk about it, nothing will ever get done.