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“It tells us how the universe was formed and how the universe evolved,” one scientist explained to the faithful. “That is basic information that, from the standpoint of any particle theorist, is worth any price.”

Reports dispatched by the unquestioning faithful were so fantastical and breathless that Mark Twain could not have made them up in Tom Sawyer’s imagination. It would have just been too farcical to believe.

Said another scientist: “The particle we observed is pretty light compared to what we would expect from theory. Observation of a light Higgs particle gives a great deal of impetus to the search for supersymmetry, which may in turn give us a candidate for dark matter.”

Dark matter, indeed.

But that’s not to say that there wasn’t some scientific humor during last week’s conclave. “Thanks, nature!” joked one scientist. It was reported that the crowd laughed at this joke.

Charles Hurt can be reached at