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Robot Cutout Contest - UPDATE Answered

The robot always wants to get out more. He's tired of being at the office and we need your help so that he can travel.

Here's what to do:
- Print out the PDF document below
- Cut out the robot and the supporting pieces
- Attach together like the picture below
- Take a picture of the robot somewhere cool
- Post the picture in a reply down below.
- Limit of three pictures

The best two pictures that come in by Friday of the robot in a cool place will win a copy of Haywired: Pointless (Yet Awesome) Projects for the Electronically Inclined.

The robot is black and white because our printer got a little too crazy on color printouts before and has no color left. Your results may vary and will probably be a lot more colorful!

UPDATE - Everyone who puts a photo of the robot up in a comment will get a cutout robot patch

UPDATE 2 - Congratulations to I_am_Canadian and lukethebook333 for their photos! We looked at all the entries, laughed, made a decision, changed our minds, and then repeated the process a few times until we decided on these two. Many great entries, everyone! Thanks for submitting your photos and we'll get the rest of those patches out to you.

UPDATE 3 - OK, the patches are now closed for this contest.


Hey, thanks for the help, Robot. No, wait, don't push that button! Aaiiieeee....


What exactly...is that, behind the robot? -PKT

Looks like an Iron Man Arc reactor!!

I'm guessing you didn't read the answer below.

It's me, inside the rear portion of the BaBar experiment. The twelve sectors of photomultiplier tubes surrounding me are used to read out a Cherenkov ring imaging detector.

You mean like:
  • neutron subspace detector
  • asp muon detector
  • BIST dongle inversion
  • photonic bandwidth detector
  • HTTP density inversion

Some were so obvious I had to personally edit them LOL

Pah. That's lame. I asked for four phrases, and got the same word appearing in three of them. Whoever populated the database had little imagination. You want some real technobabble, ask me how to avoid compacitification in a 10+1 dimensional Calabi-Yau conformal manifold, while still maintaining the infinite Kaluza-Klein ladder necessary for inflation and spontaneous symmetry breaking.

Are we talking string theory and super symmetry here? (We watched An Elegant Universe in physics after the AP exam was done)

Yeah, basically, although I more or less strung together seemingly-plausible terms and phrases. It doesn't actually say anything sensible to an actual theorist.

A Calabi-Yau manifold is one kind of a compact, unitary surface (manifold) in n-dimensional space, satisfying a Riemannian integrability condition. Reading the description in Wikipedia, most of the terminology beyond that is outside of my own education.

The "10+1" dimensions I referred to are the simplest sort of string theory space needed for unifying the four known forces, called SO(10). As it turns out, the rate of proton decay predicted by SO(10) unification is faster than has been observed, and is therefore ruled out.

A "Kaluza-Klein ladder" (more properly called a "Kaluza-Klein tower") refers to the series of excited states nhc/R" for strings on each compactified dimension of radius R. This is just good old-fashioned quantum theory, except that with R being so small, the energies of the states are huge compared to normal particle physics.

''Inflation'' is the current standard cosmological model for how the universe can be so perfectly flat (Euclidean) with a uniform CMB temperature, even in regions which should be spatially separated.

Spontaneous symmetry breaking (which won this year's Nobel in physics) describes how an underlying set of equations can have a symmetry, even though the particles or interactions we observe don't seem to reflect that symmetry. The Higgs mechanism for the origin of mass involves a spontaneously broken symmetry.

G-G...Ga-Ga....Gah! Information overload! What else do you know?


:-) See my profile. All of the jargon I'm about to spout below should be searchable either on Wikipedia or via Google (especially Google Scholar).

I'm a particle physicist; most of my career has been on e+-e- colliders, so I mostly work with tree-level interactions (ee -> µµ, ee -> tau tau, or ee -> q anti-q with subsequent fragmentation to hadrons). My current research area (on BaBar) is rare B meson decays, in particular charmless semileptonic channels which permit the measurement of form factors and the CKM matrix element |Vub|.

I've started working on ATLAS, so I am having to get used to large higher-order diagrams, as well as thinking in terms of "jets" instead of single particles.

When was the last time or whe will the Large Hydron Collider go off? -PKT (Is that how you spell LHC?)

The Large Hadron Collider ("hadron" is a generic term for any particle made of quarks, including protons and neutrons) was turned on for the first time last September, and the initial tests went well.

Unfortunately, when they tried to run up to full current, an electrical junction between two of the superconducting magnet sections overheated and vaporized (think of a fuse blowing, but where the fuse is a 1/2" think chunk of copper). The incident punch a hole in the nearest liquid helium cryostat, and the subsequent release of helium caused a cascade failure that broke half a dozen or so magnet assemblies.

The current plan is to have all the magnet junctions retrofitted, the broken assemblies replaced with spares, and commissioning to resume around July.

A Calabi-Yau manifold

Oh good, for a moment I thought you were talking automobiles....and then I should have known what you meant ;-)

String theory? Super Symmetry? See my comment to Kelsey,

Umm... Im pretty tech and knowledge savvy...so...

TEACH ME! !!! (Lest tell me to understnadable layman's terms)



I don't have a great understanding, but the idea is that gravity and magnetism and quantum mechanics and all that good stuff can be combined into one universal set of formulas. It says that everything is made up of infinitesimally small strings that vibrate and change to make up the word around us. The theory requires that there be 11 dimensions. It's 10 standard type ones, such as height, width and length. The + 1 is for time. Super symmetry is one of the things particle accelerators are for. It's the fact that for every bit of matter, there is an equal amount of anti-matter (i believe these are the two substances). Colliding protons is apparently a way to obtain the antimatter. PBS has a great series of videos called "An Elegant Universe" on their website that you can watch about the subjects.

What is a particle accelorator? As you explained it, it shoots 2 particles of matter at eachother, as excessively high speeds, to esstentially, "go back to the drawing board" with the big bang to create anti-matter. Right? -PKT

You had asked, "what is a particle accelerator?" I never actually answered your question, but instead described different kinds of accelerators in use today.

Basically, a particle accelerator is a "coil gun," but for individual charged particles (electrons, protons, or atomic nuclei), rather than for chunks of metal.

Some very low-energy accelerators (like the electron gun in a CRT) use electrostatic forces (high voltage), but anything above an MeV (million electron volts) uses RF cavities and a high-performance vacuum system.

I'd recommend reading the Wikipedia article, rather than having me reproduce some of the information already there. If you have specific questions (e.g., about the SLAC linac, or the superconducting dipoles at the LHC), feel free to post to my Orangeboard.

Sort of. An accelerator aim beams (bunches) of particles at each other, at extremely high energies ("speed" is not a useful term here :-). The LHC uses protons colliding with protons. The PEP-II and KEKB accelerators use electrons and positrons (anti-electrons).

Creating anti-matter isn't the goal of the accelerator-based HEP program. Rather, when you have a collision at high energy, particles and antiparticles are created in pairs automatically, because the various conservation laws (electric charge, for one) require it.

At electron-based machines, we produce positrons by using part of the initial electron beam onto a heavy metal (usually tungsten) target, the resulting shower is a mixture of electrons, positrons, and gamma rays. We can use magnetic fields and RF to collect the positrons and put them back through the accelerator to get them to high energies. The rest of the shower is dumped.

if you don't mind gaseous clouds around (a particular planet) ;-)

Okay, how do you avoid compacitification in a 10+1 dimensional Calabi-Yau conformal manifold, while still maintaining the infinite Kaluza-Klein ladder necessary for inflation and spontaneous symmetry breaking?

Actually, isn't compactification of Calabi-Yau manifolds important, seeing as how it partially preserves Su Sy? And shouldn't the Kaluza-Klein ladders take care of themselves?

Su Sy?

That is the name of a local Itamae-san ! LOL

Ah...you have learned Googling from the great Laird Howe.

Bah! I spit on the great Laird Howe's Googling! I learned my own self to Google...

Umm... Im pretty tech and knowledge savvy...so... TEACH ME! !!! (Lest tell me to understnadable layman's terms) -PKT

See my followup to W'burg below. The actual comment from me is nonsense, but all the terms are current particle-physics and cosmology stuff.

Okay, now I don't feel nearly so bad that I couldn't make any sense of the question even after looking up all the terms...

Isn't that where you do a mind meld with the Robot and we have to wait for The Search for Kelsey to show up on the big screen to find out what happens?

Actually, that would be Angels and Demons, since I'm now working 50% time on ATLAS :-)

I had a feeling you weren't firing on all cylinders...

Ok, here are a few....I was going to do more, but it got dark yesterday and I didn't feel motivated to go again today with the camera..... ;-)

Picture or Video 001b.jpgPicture or Video 002b.jpgPicture or Video 003b.jpgPicture or Video 004b.jpgPicture or Video 005b.jpgPicture or Video 006b.jpgPicture or Video 007b.jpg

That would be a really BIG hamster :-) He weighs 2 1/2 pounds.

Shamrock is a cavy, better known as a Guinea Pig, and yeah, when he asked to pose with Robot, he just wanted to nibble off his antenna .

I put little captions in each, and in the 4th picture, Robot makes up with Shamrock by offering a peace offering of Timothy Hay

haha, if you look at the slideshow, there's a really cute pic of a little puppy eating the instructables robot! there's also on of him about to jump off of a deck, getting run over by a bike... i feel bad for mr. robot.

blagggh! venus fly trap!


Hey guys, I still haven't received my book... Any idea how long it might be?

Is it too late to get a patch?

I'm not that bothered, but I notice that I haven't received a patch. (Everyone who puts a photo of the robot up in a comment will get a cutout robot patch)