One sewing machine.
Particle Zookeeper Julie Peasley is the sole seamstress, web designer, conceptualizer, mail packager, proofreader, driver, and emailer. I have had a lifelong interest in cosmology, the quantum world and theoretical physics. The particle plushies idea came about after attending a physics lecture at UCLA by Dr. Lawrence Krauss entitled "The Beginning and End of Time" in July 2007. A couple of difficult physics books later (including Lisa Randall's Warped Passages), I realized that the individual particles seemed to have various "personalities" that could be "felted out" with relative ease. After reading The Particle Odyssey by Chistine Sutton/Frank Close/Michael Marten and Gordon Kane's The Particle Garden, my adventure with particles began.
People, Know What You're Made Of
I hope The Particle Zoo can raise awareness and interest in the fascinating field of particle physics. And with the startup of the Large Hadron Collider, the field is only going to get more and more exciting. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty curious whether there are other dimensions or how the particles get their mass. We are privileged to live in a time when we might just find out. I recommend watching the 2008 PBS documentary The Atom Smashers which examines Fermilab current activities, science funding (or lack thereof) and the hunt for the Higgs boson.
Science Help and Thanks
Physicist Derek van Westrum, PhD is our science consultant. Derek specializes in gravity and earned his thesis in nuclear physics at Thomas Jefferson National lab. Derek also built his own house and was born two days before me so that makes him cool. Special thanks to Sean Maytum for his artistic talent, encouragement and support. Also thanks to Mr. Graham Bone of Exeter, UK for his expertise and enthusiasm and to physicist Flip Tanedo for helpful explanations and interest, especially in supersymmetry. Special thanks to Dr. Ian O'Neill. And thanks to the many other customers and physicists who have offered suggestions, advice and ideas. I welcome it all!
Particle Toy Care
The particles are non-washable. They are novelty toys and not for children under 5 years of age. I wouldn't bounce around the heavy particles too much, the gravel can get a bit sandy with heavy use. Until I can find a better filler, sorry about that!
The particles are art items factoring the equation: SCIENCE+ART=UNDERSTANDING.
Wonderfest Science Festival, Berkeley, California, November 2008.
photo by Raven Hanna
07 September 2010
The Particle Zoo, LLC