Dusting Behind the Large Hadron Collider

The detection of the long sought after Higgs boson is considered one of the greatest discoveries in physics, but perhaps no one was more excited than Mrs Doris Oppenheimer, head cleaner at the CERN laboratory on the French-Swiss border.

"I must say I was relieved when they finally found it," she told reporters as she extinguished a roll-up in her mop bucket. "I thought, perhaps now they can pack their particle accelerator away so that I can finally get round with the hoover."

To many within the scientific community the discovery represents the most important breakthrough in living memory, but as far as Mrs Oppenheimer is concerned it marked the end of a long period in which much of the CERN complex had been off limits to her duster.

"I never thought it would take so long when they first moved in here," she said. "I said to 'em, 'All right,' I said, 'you can leave your particle accelerator set up over the weekend, but I want it gone by Monday'. That was four years ago. I thought I'd never see that back of the blasted thing."

Of course, the discovery of the Higgs particle was just the beginning of the story, heralding years of further study to determine its properties. But Mrs Oppenheimer was having none of it. "I told 'em," she said. "I want it taken down and put back in its box. If they want to set it up and play with it again later, then fair enough, but not until I've had chance to give the place a good going over. And that's an end to it. Now come on, everybody out, I haven't got time to talk to you. Come on, the lot of you, get your muddy feet off my lino. And you, Brian. Yes, the stars are amazing, now be off with you so that I can get some work done..."

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