19-Sep-2008 - Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

Halo should be new name for collider, says public

The one Ring to find them all

After massive, worldwide public response, with its media office deluged by thousands of entries, the RSC has chosen the winner of its competition to suggest a new, inspiring name for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN: Halo.

Fed up with the contrived acronyms that plague the world of science, the RSC picked a suggestion which is simple, memorable, and brings to mind the deserved grandeur of perhaps the most important experiment ever built. Halo conjures visions of radiant beauty, power and wisdom. The circle of light reflects the collider’s form; it is a crowning achievement of science and engineering. It also gives more than a nod to the experiment’s importance to religious debate.

It was by far the most popular entry, with hundreds of people suggesting the name. The winner of the competition was chosen at random from those who suggested Halo; this was Aaron Borges of Rhode Island, USA, who wins $892 (£500).

The RSC will be formally suggesting the new name to CERN and the Institute of Physics.

Several other entries to the competition were popular. Colliderscope garnered many votes, with members of the public revelling in the pun on “kaleidoscope” – and some apparently oblivious to it.

Black Mesa, the name of an ill-fated research facility in the computer game franchise Half-life, was particularly well represented by gamers who Dugg media coverage of the competition on the social bookmarking site Digg.

Lots suggested that to find the answer to life, the universe, and everything, we should name the experiment after the computer designed to do just that in Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Deep Thought.

Other favourites were The Particrasher, E=M25, The Big Banger and Big Bang Two Point Oh.

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