Geeks bearing gifts: Higgs boson spawns bad-joke day

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 05 2012 12:21 AM | Updated as of Jul 05 2012 08:21 AM

PARIS - News about an elusive particle called the Higgs boson sparked a rash of bad jokes on the Internet on Wednesday but probably left many T-shirt sellers with a frown on their face.

After spending decades looking for the boson, which is believed to confer mass, physicists at CERN said they had overwhelming evidence of a new, Higgs-like particle.

The long quest has given birth to a form of contorted humour reserved until now for particle scientists.

But on Wednesday, the gags spread to non-nerds as the public got to grips with the big announcement.

A Higgs boson walks into a church, according to one joke which did the rounds.

"We don't allow Higgs bosons in here!" shouts the priest.

"But without me, how can you have mass?" asks the particle.

"OMG, a Higgs boson!! Oh, wait... just an M&M that rolled under my desk," said self-confessed "social media junkie" Nicolle Wahl in a tweet.

"Higgs Boson found, then immediately up on eBay!" tweeted Richard Hurst.

British comedian Rory Bremner took a Higgsian dig at financier Bob Diamond, who quit the helm of Barclays on Tuesday after the mega-bank was accused of rigging interest rates.

"BREAKING," tweeted Bremner. "Scientists find the famed 'Bob Particle'- phenomenon that makes money faster than speed of light."

The Higgs became known as the "God particle" because it is deemed to exist everywhere, determines the nature of matter but is agonisingly hard to nail down.

The hunt has also spawned a lucrative line in coffee mugs, greeting cards and clothing.

"I finally found the Higgs boson -- it was behind the couch the whole time," says one T-shirt.

Other goods, though, will be badly out of date.

"I'm looking at your Big Bosoms, I mean I'm looking for the Higgs Boson. Have you seen it?!!!" says a tee.

Perhaps the next line of merchandising will be about Looking for SUSY.

SUSY is considered the next Big Idea in particle physics.

It's shorthand for Supersymmetry, or the notion that a whole family of "super" particles exists alongside the ones that have already been identified.