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Scientist stops light, chats with it

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23 January 2015

Ghoton

Photon Colin Thompson is into Pink Floyd

GLASGOW, England -- A trainee scientist from the University here has managed to slow down light in free space and have a brief discussion with one of the photons.

Peter Woodlouse, a laser project’s junior technician, said: “Photons are tiny particles that carry electromagnetic radiation; the most common being particles of light. We have long known that the speed of light can be reduced marginally as it travels through water or glass, but not through free space.

“Yesterday, I discovered playing The Endless River, Pink Floyd’s latest album, in a room full of weed smoke slows them down enough to interact with.”

The lab technician said he was “stoked” when Colin Thompson, a non-ionising photon from their laser, stopped for a brief chat.

PW: Erm hi man, wow.... a friggin photon called Colin, what’s it like being a photon dude?

CT: Hang on a nano... let me get me breath back....

PW: Okay Colin, chill, take your time.

CT: Ha ha nice one. Can I ask a favour, could you stop firing us through those bloody colliders? It plays hob with our phase symmetry.

PW: Dunno dude, I’d have to ask the boss about that; he’s a bit of a bastard. So you like the Floyd?

CT: I’ve always been particle to a bit of Floyd; they were the first to use us in their stage shows back in the sixties. Ha ha, the UFO club, you’d have loved it Pete, everyone was off their quarks on LSD. Of course, poor old Syd was on it constant and was like a Planck in the end, it was very sad. The poor bloke could hardly string a theory together. I loved Atom Heart Mother, Dark Side of the Moon was a classic too, although I didn’t dig the album cover. Of course it meant a quantum leap for us, we went on to become stars of arena rock and the rest is history. Liking the ‘River Pete, first time I’ve heard it.

PW: That’s wicked. So what do you do about, you know the ladies?

CT: You mean interacting with an ironising photon? Not a good idea unless you are mad enough to actually want kids. I think you guys call it total annihilation. If I was to meet an ironising particle that was on the same wavelength in free space, at least two photons will be made yes. Colliding with them has no net momentum and a single photon always has momentum or something. To be honest, I don’t know much about sex, I’m a laser guy, a bit of a nerd. What I do know is it would be the old black hole for me in this universe. That said, it’s much simpler and quicker than all that red wine and Barry White crap you have to go though ha ha – raising kids, what a friggin work up. Being immediately propelled into the eleventh dimension will do me thanks.

PW: Wow, pretty heavy... any plans for the future?

CT: Well, it’s been a while since I measured the distance to the moon and I hear Def Leppard are touring this year, good laser show. I might do some WWE work in the interim; that dope smells good by the way.

PW: Yeah, it’s a new strain from the bio-engineering lab next door, they cut me a bud to try out, fucking strong. That reminds me, I better get these bins emptied.

CT: You’re right, is that the time? I could end up creating a rip in the....

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