“Student: Dr. Einstein, aren’t these the same questions as last year’s final exam? Dr. Einstein: Yes, but this year the answers are different.”

Today we welcome “Professor Science” who will guide us through the pressing, complicated, science-related issues of the day that make us feel stupid when we can’t figure out how to read about them on our so-called “smart” phone which costs more than Professor Science’s first used car but has better battery life. The trouble is that what we think is the absolute slam dunk scientific answer this year will be next year’s Piltdown man. This actually works in Professor Science’s favor because no matter how ridiculous his theories may appear, some of them will probably be true some day, even the one about Vice President Joe Biden being from the Zeta Reticuli system rather than Alpha Centauri as is currently believed. Let’s get started:

What’s the deal with sub-atomic particles? For centuries it was understood that the atom was the smallest unit of matter. This goes back as far as 450 BC when the ancient Greek thinker Democritus coined the word “atom” to mean “the indivisible thing” and then broke out a skin of retsina to celebrate. Now we know that there are smaller particles called “quarks.” Scientists in white lab coats have taken to describing quarks as having properties such as charm and spin which are highly prized especially by the political class. Researchers have also described “strange” quarks such as the one this guy who dated my sister in law had where he liked to play Sousa marches at three in the morning. Quarks like to team up to form larger particles called “hadrons”, which leads us to our next complicated science question,

Einstein 01

What are they up to at the Large Hadron Collider?  First off, hadrons are what you get when you shove two quarks together to form a proton or a neutron. These are then shot around a big race track at tremendous speeds until they have a subatomic head-on. Scientists then go out on the track, sweep up the debris and put it in their pocket liners so they can take it to the club later and try to impress chicks. One of the scientists, a fellow named Higgs, tried to up the ante by proposing the existence of a theretofore unknown quark which he named after himself, calling it the “Higgs boson.” However, even with the announcement of theoretical proof of its existence based on the production of post collision trace particles, he still couldn’t get a date.

Why do they keep yapping about global warming climate change when we’re all freezing our quarks off?  Now that climate scientists have changed the name of their theory from “global warming” to “climate change”, Professor Science feels it is sufficiently less ridiculous that he can sign onto it. Here’s why it is such a great theory: Hot spells, cold snaps, floods, drought, storms and lack of storms all prove the existence of climate change, so almost anyone can look smart going on and on about it. Look at Secretary of State John Kerry, who recently flew 10,000 miles to Indonesia in a huge jet which he left idling on the tarmac while he told the natives they should cease their flagrant, climate changing use of mopeds and chain saws. By the way, in case anyone with fairly loose grant funding is interested, Professor Science would be willing to make the same trip even flying coach provided the hotel has a decent bar. Especially if it’s around Memorial Day. What’s that? It’s Indonesia, not Indianapolis? Never mind.

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