Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Physics Costumes

It's time for (arguably) the best holiday of the year: Halloween. Children will be out trick-or-treating tomorrow, and kids of all ages will don their most inspired (or last minute, thrown together) costumes as well.

Costumes I've seen so far have covered a lot of ground: superheroes, mimes, Mega Sharks, and even binders (for political humor). But one costume department sorely lacks representation: physics costumes.

To help boost physics' Halloween cred, I will be "NASA Mohawk Guy" for Halloween this year. Bobak Ferdowsi -- the NASA Mohawk Guy -- achieved fairly widespread Internet fame during the landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover in August.

As a flight engineer for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Ferdowsi helped ensure Curiosity's safe arrival on Mars before it explored the red planet for signs of water and life.

While he already has an awesome job, respect for Ferdowsi took off after live streaming video revealed his haircut for the mission. Ferdowsi donned a red and blue-tipped mohawk with stars carved into the sides of his head. Apparently, his team votes on a new haircut for him to wear for every mission.

A meme quickly arose. Ferdowsi's twitter following exploded, and he was flooded with congratulations, questions, and even marriage proposals. But the true power of the mohawk (excuse the hyperbole) lies in its ability to encourage many otherwise science-averse people to get excited about physics.

So Physics Buzz readers, what's your costume for this year? If you're still looking for ideas, you could always go as Spectra, the laser superhero from our comic books like one of our readers last year.

Here's hoping that you put a pinch of physics in your costume ideas. Happy Halloween!



3 comments:

  1. My physics-related costume this year is the Higgs Boson. I made a name tag with the boson's symbol (H0) and mass, spin and electric charge values on it. I also made a cheat sheet of the masses of particles in the Standard Model. I plan to go around writing masses on slips of paper, giving them to people and asking if they have enough mass. I attempted this on Saturday, but sadly, only one person caught on. I'll try again at work tomorrow. I don't know if it's more upsetting that people don't wear physics-related costumes or that people don't know that the Higgs gives things mass.

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  2. My favorite was the episode of the Big Bang Theory where Sheldon went to a Halloween party dressed as the Doppler shift.

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  3. I dressed up as a photon. My shirt had a y on it (the photon's symbol), i wore a headlight, and carried a fake magnet and a fake battery (as the photon is the force carrying particle for electro-magnetism).
    Sadly, lots of people didn't get it.

    Me: trick or treat!
    Person answering door: what are you supposed to be?
    Me: a photon.
    Person answering door: a proton, you mean?
    Me: no! A photon, the particles of light and the carrier of electro-magnetism.
    Person answering door: wha?
    Me: never mind.

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