CAN anyone explain the Higgs boson to me?
Apparently it's the greatest scientific discovery since Einstein's theory of relativity and will change the way we understand molecules, atoms and particles?
Forget those staid old white coat-wearing scientific types, Australia's most media savvy scientist Dr Karl Kruszelnicki tried to explain its significance in layman's terms: "You are made of particles that have no size, and no mass. But somehow, there you are."
Just like the theory of relativity, the Higgs boson while not particularly useful to residents of Lydiard Street just yet, might one day allow us to super-transport from Ballarat to the middle solar system and beyond.
Due to the difficulty in explaining the significance of scientific discoveries means most of the time it goes straight over our heads and into the abyss.
Makes you (or maybe just me) wonder about the whole idea of how we think about science, science funding and the achievements of those we might otherwise pigeon hole as nerdy dudes with test tubes.
So here's some suggestions about how we could bring science to the people, Ballarat-style.
1. A massive dome glasshouse is placed over Lake Wendouree, with no way in and no way out. Big Brother-style inside the dome are a rower, a fly fisherman and a real estate agent.
Experiment number one: to determine how long it takes for the conversation to turn from the lake being "the jewel in Ballarat's crown", to "a weed-ridden swamp".
The only question is who hosts: Gretel Killeen or Sonya Kruger?
Hypothesis: that no matter how much time you spend at the lake, it never loses its lustre.
2. The long-closed Civic Hall is opened to microbiologists who are sent in to test the floor for traces of 1960s free lovin' spirit.
The idea being that the hall can saved from demolition based upon the discovery of "historic" human and possibly synthetic materials.
The discovery of such evidence leads to a new range of objections at VCAT-style hearings across the world where councils are stopped from pulling down any building on the basis that a site's history is not in its walls but indeed still living on its floors.
Hypothesis: You can't bottle spirit.
3. Eye-activity technology is used to determine the reaction of drivers on entering Ballarat via its eastern entrance at Bakery Hill.
The findings? Heart rates jump, blood pressures rise and visitor numbers fall.
Scientists suggest a monorail or super road flyover be erected over Bridge Mall to streamline traffic from Victoria Street directly into Sturt Street.
Hypothesis: Funding for project will be largely wasted.
The Higgs boson might be one of the great discoveries of our time and helped, if only for a moment, give us a sense of the bigger picture.
No guessing that next week we'll be back on to less futuristic topics.