Groan

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Dr. Frederick (Bottomos) Frederickson was one of only a handful of physicists that were considered experts on dark matter. His nickname, Bottomos, was given to him by his colleagues when he first entered the field of physics. It’s from a Sci-Fi short story by Jerome Bixby titled “The Holes Around Mars” written in 1954. (The story is available on the Gutenberg Project website “gutenberg.org”.) “Bottomos” in the short story was the third moon of Mars. Bottomos the physicist, like the rocket ship’s captain in the story, considered himself a “punny fellow”. Groan. Everyone groaned on a regular basis when they worked with Bottomos.
The idea of dark matter had been around since the 1930s. Research into dark matter had moved slowly over the last century though. No one knew where to start. The Standard Model estimates that dark matter is about 85% of the total matter of the universe. But it’s tough to study. Dark matter neither radiates nor absorbs electromagnetic radiation, including light. Bottomos sought to “shed some light on the matter”. Groan. Gravitational effects, including lensing, seemed to be the only avenue of investigation. It was theorized that dark matter was a heretofore unknown type of matter.
But Bottomos had other ideas on dark matter. His dark matter theories weren’t exactly main stream. But they stood up to scientific scrutiny. He was well published and, except for the outrageous puns, was well respected in the physics community. He had requested time and funding at the LHC at CERN for several years without results. Finally the grants had come earlier this year. He would get his time on the LHC the first two days of December. In celebration he served tea and biscuits to his lab crew. He declared he would “leave no scone unturned”. Groan.
There was a good reason his funding had been approved. In order to run his experiments no new detectors would need to be built at CERN. For his experiments he would need only to re-configure the currently available sensors. The target material to be bombarded by protons in the LHC was a disk of copper the size of a coin. “Penny wise and pounded foolish”, stated Bottomos. Groan. Bottomos’ excitement grew as the time drew near. December 1st was a full day of sensor re-configuration. Then on December 2nd at 8:47 AM the machine was fired up.
By lunch time the giant machine was being powered down to be set up for the next physicist’s experiment. Bottomos had reams and reams of data. His first glance at the data seemed to confirm his hypothesis. But several months of number crunching would have to be done to verify his first impression.
Bottomos spent many long nights and weekends doing battle with the LHC sensor data. Bottomos declared “I’ve beaten every one. And every zero too!” Groan. The data showed he’d found a new particle. The new particle acted like a gluon but much, much stronger. Gluons, of course, were the particles that perform as the exchange particles between quarks. What the data revealed is that dark matter was just regular matter except the newly discovered particle held the quarks tighter together by a factor of about ten thousand more than the known gluons. The extra strength of the particle gave ordinary matter the properties that had been attributed to dark matter.
Bottomos was ready to publish the results. A press conference was called to announce the new particle. A large horde of press gathered with cameras and recorders. Questions came fast and the answers were faster. Finally the science reporter for the "Times" spoke up. “Dr. Frederickson, have you named the new particle? Or is it to be considered just another type of gluon?” Bottomos got a gleam in his eye and paused dramatically. Physicists at the press conference and around the world collectively froze. Bottomos addressed the reporter. “Yes, I have named the new particle. Due to its extraordinary strength I’ve named it the Gorilla Glue-on”. Groan.

About the Author: 
Hi, I'm Michael K. I've been an engineer for almost 40 years and never wanted to do anything else. Well, maybe, write some short stories too.